As we start to get older, it’s harder to stay in shape, particularly around our belly. Various reasons can contribute to this phenomenon, right from slowing metabolism, increasing stress levels to an eventual loss of muscles. However, it’s not impossible to lose belly fat!
We bring you 15 evidence-based ways to lose belly fat, which include eliminating fast food, getting regular sleep, staying active, combining workout styles, practicing yoga, and adding fats, vinegar, almonds, beans, cucumbers, avocados, green tea, and dietary fiber. But first, let’s find out what belly fat is.
What is Belly Fat?
Belly fat is slightly different than other fat deposits on the body and is often called visceral fat. Visceral fat is considered the most dangerous form of fat in the body because it is in such close proximity to our vital organs. It is actually located beneath the abdominal muscles and the subcutaneous layer of fat, making it difficult to see and even harder to get rid of! These larger fat cells release hormones and chemicals that can be dangerous in many ways, leading to an increased risk of various diseases and metabolic imbalances.
When we have “beer bellies” or “tires” of fat, they are actually early indicators of heart diseases, diabetes, and other serious health concerns. According to a Harvard Medical report, as women age, their proportion of fat to the body weight tends to go up much more compared to men and even if they may not gain weight, their waistline could grow by inches due to the visceral fat that pushes out against the abdominal wall.
Ways to Lose Belly Fat
There have been many quick fixes and fads that have promised the rapid loss of belly fat, but many of them are only a temporary or superficial fix. Here are 15 best ways to lose belly fat.
Eliminate Fast Food
It may be quick and easy to pick up a delicious cheeseburger when you’re running late and have skipped lunch, but it can be a disaster for your diet and belly fat-burning plans. The amount of saturated fats, grease, and unwanted found in fast food is precisely what you don’t want if you’re trying to burn visceral fat, so while it might be hard, cutting out fast food has to be near the top of your list. According to the experts at Johns Hopkins Medicine, if you want to lower fat intake, it is best to avoid fast foods and instead, include low-fat dairy products, lean cuts of meat and poultry, and ‘good’ fats like olive oil.
This is a very low-calorie food with a high value; packed with dietary fiber, minerals, and essential vitamins, cucumbers can fill you up and optimize your metabolism, helping to speed up weight loss without contributing any unwanted fats to the body.
Consume Polyunsaturated Fats
Eating the right kinds of fats is crucial if you want to cut down on your belly fat. Some fats will only contribute more to visceral fat, such as saturated fats. Lead author Lucinda Summers from the Oxford Centre for Diabetes says in her research report, if you add polyunsaturated fats, like those found in nuts and certain types of fish, you can benefit from their anti- potential and actually help to reduce your visceral fat levels.
Studies have shown that post-natal and post-menopausal women have seen significant reductions in visceral fat stores when adding yoga to their workout and health regimens. Yoga is a wonderful way to reduce stress and eliminate excess stress hormones from your body, namely cortisol. Dr. Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, an eminent psychologist from The Ohio State University, carried out a study in which she found yoga fastened an individual’s recovery. Furthermore, it also stated that there’s a direct link between chronic stress, cortisol levels, and belly fat. Thus it is important to clear your mind, calm down, and keep that visceral fat at bay!
A sedentary lifestyle is highly associated with visceral fat, not only because it usually means a lack of physical exercise, but also because it’s associated with lower metabolic levels, higher intake of unhealthy food, and psychological effects such as stress, anxiety, and guilt. This is according to a research paper published in the Obesity journal. By staying active as much as possible (taking the stairs instead of the elevator, standing up while working, or taking a bike to work), you can keep your physical and mental energy high, preventing the development of belly fat.
Regulate Your Sleep
Research has shown that regulating your sleep scheduled and ensuring that you get more than 5-6 hours per night of sleep can help you reduce your visceral fat stores. However, if you turn around and sleep in two days a week (Saturday and Sunday?), it can add to your visceral fat. According to the Oxford Academic’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, there is a strong independent association between sleep apnea, visceral obesity, insulin resistance, and hypercytokinemia, that may further lead to health complications. Essentially, make a firm sleep schedule, but don’t let your body get too lazy on your days off. Regularity in your Circadian rhythms and metabolic cycles will be helpful for keeping belly fat in check.
Combine Workout Styles
While many people think that workout styles is actually a better way to quickly lose belly fat. When you do weight training in between cardio , that high-intensity exercise can cause your metabolism to shoot up, burning more fat more quickly. Alternating workout styles and physical demands on your body can keep your metabolism “on its toes”, operating at a high level, even burning fat when you’re not working out!workouts are the best possible way to burn belly fat, combining your
Use Vinegar in your Diet
It might not sound pleasant, but anecdotal evidence says that vinegar can actually be an effective means of burning belly fat. Drinking a dollop of vinegar can reduce visceral fat, and while the research on this is somewhat limited, it is believed that the acids in vinegar stimulate the production of certain proteins that burn visceral fat.
High Dietary Fiber Intake
Any foods with high of dietary fiber can help to reduce inflammation throughout the body, balance cholesterol levels, regulate your digestive system, and optimize your nutrient intake, all of which can help improve the metabolism and burn more belly fat.
Cut Out Starch
Starch is a major source of empty calories that can easily be converted into visceral fat. If you’re a big potato eater, put those spuds to the side if you’re trying to burn belly fat. Grab a handful of nuts or leafy greens instead!
Eat Smaller Meals and Slowly
There is enough information on the internet on what and how to eat if you want to burn belly fat, but one that makes sense is the slower and smaller principle. By eating smaller meal portions, and consuming them slowly, you will allow your body time to process what it’s taking in before releasing those enzymes that tell the body it’s “full”. Also, smaller portions allow you to eat more meals per day, which keeps your metabolism and digestive system active and engaged for longer, which is great for burning belly fat!
Push yourself Physically
Pushing yourself past the normal “threshold” is a great way to burn belly fat. According to the World Health Organization, the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, and other authorities, adults should undertake almost two and a half hours of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each week to maintain good health. If you regularly work out, but hardly break a sweat and don’t feel “challenged”, then your body probably won’t respond by gearing up its metabolism and burning those visceral fat cells. However, surprising your body with varied workout styles and intensities, beyond what you normally do, can kick-start your system very quickly.
Disrupt your Diet
Eating the same types of food at the exact same time of day can cause your body to fall into an unwanted rhythm. Occasionally, you need to stretch your stomach a bit, so to speak, consuming different foods, nutrients, vitamins, minerals, organic compounds, etc. in order to keep your metabolism flexible and your system dynamic and responsive. That doesn’t mean chowing down on hamburgers as a “cheat day”, but it does mean broadening your culinary horizons!