For this reason, losing belly fat has massive benefits for your health and can help you live longer. So if you really want to destroy belly fat and love handles around your waistline, you first have to understand that you must be consistent in order to burn down the desired amount of calories.
Belly fat is usually estimated by measuring the circumference around your waist. This can easily be done at home with a simple tape measure. Whether you’ve been struggling for a while or are making your first attempt at trimming down, we’re here with all the tips and tricks you need to blast that belly fat for good!
To get the abs you want, you have to get rid of belly fat. But did you know that some belly fat is necessary for your health?
Obviously, carrying an excessive amount of belly fat can lead to a variety of health problems, specifically cardiovascular and type 2 diabetes.
Having a spare tire or a ‘dad bod’ isn’t a sign that you’re trendy. It simply means you haven’t found the time or the motivation to get rid of belly fat.
In such a case, you not only have to avoid lifestyles and dietary compounds that contribute to the belly fat, but you also have to work around getting rid of the fat accumulated over the years. To help you get started, there are effective strategies that you can employ in getting rid of this unwanted belly fat.
When visceral fat forms around vital organs located in the abdomen, the risk of developing such deadly conditions as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, and cancer increases. That’s why it’s vital to reduce your body fat through such methods as exercise, eating well, and drinking less alcohol.
What is Belly Fat?
Look round, and you will see many middle-aged men with excess weight around their belly. It happens because your metabolism slows as you age. If you keep eating the same, then your body will store the excess calories.
These are calories it used to burn but no longer does. This is usually due to less muscle mass on your body, which is your metabolic furnace.
The 2 Types of Belly Fat
Ordinarily you can’t target areas of fat. But when it comes to your midsection there are two different types of fat, one of which can be isolated for destruction.
This is the fat that you can see and pinch, comprising spare tires and muffin tops, or that last bit of pooch covering your six-pack. If you’re trying to specifically target subcutaneous stomach fat, you’re S.O.L.
To get rid of this kind of belly fat, you need to keep exercising hard and eating right to reduce overall body fat; your genetics will determine how and at what speed your weight comes off. But rest assured that your belly will eventually shrink to more shapely (and firmer) dimensions.
Also, keep in mind that subcutaneous fat is found between skin and muscle. Sometimes, especially if you’re new to exercise, your muscles will firm up, pushing this fat out and creating the illusion that you’re gaining more fat. If this happens, just be patient — the illusion will eventually vanish and your legs will become thinner.
Generally speaking, subcutaneous fat isn’t the most dangerous kind of fat. That’s not to say that this type of fat isn’t hard on your joints or that it can’t lead to chronic health issues. But when you read about fat’s links to cardiovascular issues, chances are you’re reading about visceral fat.
If you’re “apple shaped” or sporting a big ol’ beer belly, that’s likely a different kind of flab called visceral fat. Research shows that it is, in fact, targetable, which is fortunate since it’s much more insidious than the subcutaneous variety. Some people call it “deep belly fat,” and it’s been linked to all kinds of problems including insulin resistance, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Residing deep within your torso, visceral fat wraps itself around your heart, liver, and other major organs. Your best strategy for losing visceral fat is to work out hard with some fat-burning exercises, stress less, sleep more, and make cleaner food choices.
A little visceral fat is normal. We tend to accumulate more of it later in life thanks to a dated bit of evolution that assumes we have less muscle as we age, causing fat to build up to protect our internal organs. The problems start piling up when you have too much of it.
The most precise way to measure visceral fat is through an MRI or CT scan, but your waist circumference can also give you an indication of how bad (or good) the situation is. Red flag numbers are more than 35 inches for women and more than 40 inches for men.
Ways To Destroy Belly Fat You Should Know
Don’t Eat Sugar and Avoid Sugar-Sweetened Drinks
Studies show that it has uniquely harmful effects on metabolic health (2).
Sugar is half glucose, half fructose, and fructose can only be metabolized by the liver in significant amounts.
When you eat a lot of added sugar, the liver gets overloaded with fructose and is forced to turn it into fat.
Numerous studies have shown that excess sugar, mostly due to the large amounts of fructose, can lead to increased accumulation of fat in the belly and liver (5).
Some believe that this is the primary mechanism behind sugar’s harmful effects on health. It increases belly fat and liver fat, which leads to insulin resistance and a host of metabolic problems.
Liquid sugar is even worse in this regard. Liquid calories don’t get “registered” by the brain in the same way as solid calories, so when you drink sugar-sweetened beverages, you end up eating more total calories.
Studies show that sugar-sweetened beverages are linked to a 60% increased risk of obesity in children, for each daily serving.
Make a decision to minimize 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.
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.
The amount of fructose you get from fruit is negligible compared to what you get from a diet high in refined sugar.
If you want to cut back on refined sugar, then you must start reading labels. Even foods marketed as health foods can contain huge amounts of sugar.
Research from the American Chemical Society has shown that drinking tequila can help you lose weight. Wait, what? The short version is that the agave plant, the thing tequila is made from, contains natural sugars called agavins. Agavins are non-digestible and act as a dietary fiber, meaning they won’t raise blood glucose levels.
In fact, consuming agavins can help lower blood sugar levels while also producing a hormone called GLP-1, which helps you feel fuller longer. Don’t get us wrong; we’re not saying go out and drink all the tequila to be thin. However, if you’re watching your waistline and want to enjoy a cocktail, tequila is a better choice than most.
Unsurprisingly, we have to look at what we eat. Instead of focusing on cutting sugar and unhealthy fat in your diet, you should adopt a positive approach to food.
Most foods are acceptable to eat providing you adopt the ‘perfect plate’ method.
A perfect plate is ½ vegetables, ¼ protein, and ¼ carbohydrates.
You can add a little healthy fat.
Take a look at our free 1-day meal plan to give you some inspiration.
Avoid processed foods and added sugars while aiming to consume 300 – 500 calories below your maintenance.
Mix of Exercises and Diet
If you hope to destroy the belly fat naturally, you may want to consider embracing exercises as well as weight loss recommended by a professional. The two methods have been used since time immemorial and remain the most popular fat reduction strategies. With that being said, in many cases, diet and exercise can only do so much to get rid of stubborn belly fat.
If you’re looking for belly fat burning exercises, you’re going to need something that’s high intensity. A study on middle-aged obese women with metabolic syndrome showed that high intensity exercise did a better job of banishing visceral fat than low-intensity exercise (such as sustained jogging) or no exercise at all. (Duh.) The women also experienced a reduction in abdominal subcutaneous fat. (Double duh.)
Eat More Soluble Fiber
It’s true – eating more of certain foods can actually help you get rid of belly fat. A five-year study on minorities ranging in age from 18 to 81 showed that if you add soluble fiber to your diet, and combine it with exercise, you can accelerate visceral fat loss. You’ll find soluble fiber in oat bran, barley, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, peas, and some fruits and vegetables, including apples, pears, and Brussels sprouts.
Reduce Carbohydrate Intake
Not all carbs are bad for you, but consumption of processed carbs should be kept to a minimum. “They are not only fattening, but also addictive and energy-sapping,” says Julia Buckley, fitness trainer and author of The Fat Burn Revolution.
Gisela Bouvier of B Nutrition and Wellness recommends, “Exchanging the carbohydrates from sugar and sweets for whole grains and fruit will significantly help blast belly fat.”
For all the pasta lovers out there, Darin Hulslander, CEO of DNS Performance and Nutrition, suggests opting for spaghetti squash. “Squash contains pectin, which regulates insulin and promotes a healthy blood sugar level (and thus, appetite level) throughout the day.
Do Your Cardio
Cardio exercise can super charge your weight loss journey by burning a high amount of calories eventually toning your muscles, legs , and core.
A 90 minute session of cardiovascular exercises at least 4 times a week can make a large deficit of calories.
The best cardio exercises you can do for weight loss is cardio kickboxing, boot camp workouts with interval training. High interval training means that you can do short intense bursts of cardio joint with slower activity. Exercises like running , swimming are also very helpful in burning great amount of calories.
Eating More Protein Is A Great Long-Term Strategy To Reduce Belly Fat
Protein is the most important macronutrient when it comes to losing weight.
It has been shown to 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, then adding protein is perhaps the single most effective change you can make to your diet.
Not only will it help you lose, it also helps you avoid re-gaining weight if you ever decide to abandon your weight loss efforts.
There is also some evidence that protein is particularly effective against belly fat.
One study showed that the amount and quality of protein consumed was inversely related to fat in the belly. That is, people who ate more and better protein had much less belly fat.
Another study showed that protein was linked to significantly reduced risk of belly fat gain over a period of 5 years.
This study also showed that refined carbs and oils were linked to increased amounts of belly fat, but fruits and vegetables linked to reduced amounts.
Many of the studies showing protein to be effective had protein at 25-30% of calories. That’s what you should aim for.
So make an effort to increase your intake of high-protein foods such as whole eggs, fish, seafood, legumes, nuts, meat and dairy products. These are the best protein sources in the diet.
If you struggle with getting enough protein in your diet, then a quality protein supplement (like whey protein) is a healthy and convenient way to boost your total intake.
If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, then check out this article on how to increase your protein intake.
Bonus tip: Consider cooking your foods in coconut oil. Some studies have shown that 30 mL (about 2 tablespoons) of coconut oil per day reduces belly fat slightly
Drink More Water While You’re At It
If only this list was made up entirely of booze. Alas, good old H2O will have to do. There are about eight million reasons water can help you shore up your core, but the main benefit is that it just fills you up. Doctor and best-selling author of Fire-Up Your Fat Burn!, Lori Shemek suggests drinking two glasses of water before each meal. “Drinking water before eating hydrates the body and helps send the mental receptors from the tummy to the brain that you are satiated. Dehydration can cause food cravings, so drinking water before your meal helps regulate those cravings.”
Certified transformational nutrition coach, Melissa Mendez, also suggests drinking more water to banish belly bloat. “As much as we don’t want to think about it, belly fat can appear larger then it actually is due to a build up in our colon… Simply by upping your water intake, you can encourage a more regular colon, which will diminish belly bloat (which is often what makes our mid section look larger than it really is).”
Lean Toward Unsaturated Fats
Not all fats are created equal when it comes to slimming down your stomach. Researchers in Sweden fed 39 young men 750 extra calories daily for seven weeks in the form of very big muffins. One group were fed muffins with saturated fat in the form of palm oil and the second group ate muffins with polyunsaturated fat in the form of sunflower oil.
Not surprisingly, the group fed saturated fat gained more visceral fat (as well as subcutaneous fat and liver fat) than the group fed polyunsaturated fat. Given that there are many types of both saturated and unsaturated fat, it’s unfair to categorically condemn all saturated fats, but it’s still worth considering or at least reducing. Regardless, no good has ever come from adding a giant muffin to your daily meal plan — so don’t do that.
Increase Magnesium Intake
Magnesium can be magical in terms of busting belly fat. According to Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, medical advisory board member at Nutritional Magnesium Association, “Magnesium and the B-complex vitamins are energy nutrients. They activate enzymes that control digestion, absorption, and the utilization of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Lack of these necessary energy nutrients causes improper utilization of food, leading to such far-ranging symptoms as hypoglycemia, anxiety, and obesity.”
She goes on to explain that sometimes food cravings are actually cravings for nutrients. To avoid over eating, opt for magnesium-rich foods, such as pumpkin seeds, leafy greens, and avocado (another reason it’s so great!). Furthermore, magnesium can also assist in restful sleep, which is another great belly-fat buster.
Ban Sugar For Good
Sugary Beverages are very harmful if taken at a regular intervals like daily, they just don’t increase weight and make you Fat but can cause serious diseases like Heart Disease and Type 2 Diabetes.
Instead you can make juices at home which will be far more nutritional and harmless.
Cut Carbs From Your Diet
While you can eat more soluble fiber to lower belly fat, you’ll want to reduce the amount of carbs you consume to slim down your stomach fat. One study on people with type 2 diabetes showed that a low-calorie, low-carb diet burns more visceral fat than a low-calorie, high-carb diet. That being said, the researchers’ version of low-carb meant that 40 percent of total calories came from carbohydrates, as opposed to 65 percent for a high-carb diet. In my opinion, 40 percent is not particularly low for most people, unless you’re really active and need to eat more carbs for fuel.
This is true even when the low-carb groups are allowed to eat as much as they want, while the low-fat groups are calorie restricted and hungry.
Low-carb diets also lead to quick reductions in water weight, which gives people near-instant results. A difference on the scale is often seen within 1-2 days.
There are also studies comparing low-carb and low-fat diets, showing that low-carb diets specifically target the fat in the belly, and around the organs and liver (23, 24).
What this means is that a particularly high proportion of the fat lost on a low-carb diet is the dangerous and disease-promoting abdominal fat.
Just avoiding the refined carbs (sugar, candy, white bread, etc) should be sufficient, especially if you keep your protein intake high.
However, if you need to lose weight fast, then consider dropping your carbs down to 50 grams per day. This will put your body into ketosis, killing your appetite and making your body start burning primarily fats for fuel.
Of course, low-carb diets have many other health benefits besides just weight loss. They can have life-saving effects in type 2 diabetics, for example
Stop Stressing So Much
If you’ve changed your diet and started doing fat-burning workouts, but you’re still not getting rid of belly fat like you want, you might need to look at another part of your lifestyle. Stress triggers the production of cortisol, which increases visceral fat. The link is that simple. A little stress, like the kind your body experiences working out, is fine, but chronic stress can be problematic. Studies on both humans and monkeys confirm this.
Admittedly, telling someone to stop stressing is a little like telling someone to “be funny” or “don’t look at the giant mole on my forehead” (i.e., it’s easier said than done), but de-stressing your life is possible. You just need to be patient. Look into things like meditation or yoga, or just take a couple minutes each day to stop and breathe deeply.
If you have stubborn belly fat, consider liposuction procedures. This method of getting rid of fat around the midsection has, over the years, gained popularity in the country and has also improved in its techniques and technology.