Belly fat can actually be dangerous. Visceral fat - a type of fat that is stored within the abdominal cavity - usually cause many belly fat issues. It is a deeper type of belly flat stored further under your skin and wraps itself around the kidneys, liver, and other vital organs.
Aside from the health benefits of losing belly fat, it also helps improve your overall physical appearance. A flat belly can contribute to making you feel good about yourself and boosts your overall confidence.
Wouldn’t you want to be healthy and feel confident as well?
This article will help you get started by showing you 10 tips to lose belly fat:
Eat food that burn belly fat
The 80/20 rule in weight loss says that 80% healthy diet and 20% exercise will help you effectively shed off those unwanted pounds.
Here are the top five foods that will help you burn belly fat:
- Citrus food - Vitamin C is a big booster for metabolism. It is easy to include in your diet too. Simply include orange or lemon slices into your water and drink all day. You can enjoy a refreshing orange juice as part of your meals too.
- Coconut - A healthy fat you can incorporate in your diet. It is high in fatty acids and medium chain triglycerides that help boost metabolism. Instead of butter, try using coconut oil when you cook your meals. You may also add some coconut milk or coconut water into your after workout smoothie.
- Eggs - Eggs are low in calories but rich in protein. Because of its high protein content, eggs are nutrient-dense and very filling. They help reduce your appetite and increase your feeling of fullness.
- Beans - Beans fall under the pulse family (including lentils, chickpeas, and peas). This food group are proven to help you lose weight and make you feel fuller. Beans are also a low glycemic index food, which means that they help regulate your blood sugar levels.
- Avocado - Avocados are packed with vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and fiber. Because of its high fat and fiber content, avocados help you feel more satisfied and makes you feel full for a longer time.
Don’t skip meals
The most common myth in weight loss is that skipping meals will actually help them get rid of unwanted fats and flabs. Contrary to this, skipping even just one meal will lower your ability to lose belly fat.
Studies show that people skipping breakfast or those who eat fewer meals a day are heavier than those who eat breakfast and four to five meals per day. A person who eats regularly helps his/her body maintain a higher metabolic rate so that more calories are burned and appetite is more controlled.
When you do not eat for a longer time, your body’s reaction is to go into starvation mode. This means that your metabolism is slowing down to preserve energy. Your body is forced to compensate the insufficient calories you are taking by burning fewer calories than it usually does. Once you eat again, your body’s reaction is now to store fats instead of burning them because it is expecting you to starve again. All these make weight loss impossible.
Cook more often
A study from 2017 shows that spending more time in the kitchen and cooking healthy foods helps a person lose belly fat. UK researchers who analyzed data from more than 11,000 men and women found out that “people who prepared and ate more than five home cooked meals per week were 28 percent less likely to have a high body mass index, and 24 percent less likely to carry too much body fat than those whole only downed three meals at home.”
Researchers also found a pattern from this study. In general, those who prepare healthy meals on their own have other healthy habits like exercising more. Home cooks also ate more fruits and vegetables, practice healthier ways of food preparation, and spend less on food with high sugar and calories.
Track your food intake
Now that you have learned about healthy eating, tracking what you eat and your progress is also important. Some people think that they are eating “low-calorie”, “high protein”, or “low carb” meals, but are actually under- or overestimating their intake.
This does not mean that you have to weigh and measure everything too frequently and for the rest of your life. Tracking things, especially at the start of your weight loss journey, will help you be aware of when and where to make necessary adjustments or changes.
There are many ways to track what you eat. You can write notes down on a notebook, in a spreadsheet, or through food tracking online apps. Start tracking the times you eat, the food you take, your portion sizes, and even notes on how you felt during and after using most of these methods.
Drink plenty of water
Studies suggest that drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help boost a person’s metabolism. Water also acts as a natural appetite suppressant. When the stomach feels that it is full, it sends signals to the brain to stop eating. Water helps take up space in the stomach, making you feel full or reduce your hunger. Aside from that, a person also mistakes thirst for hunger. Drinking a glass of water before eating can help reduce unnecessary snacking.
Drinking more water also helps your body flush out wastes and toxins and improve your overall health. When wastes are not flushed out from the body, you may feel bloated, tired, and swollen. This bloating can add inches to your waist. Staying hydrated is a good way to get rid of your body wastes, avoiding unnecessary extra pounds.
If you can’t find time to establish a workout routine, walking daily can be a good start. When trying to lose weight, one mistake most people make is that they push themselves too much, too soon. As a result, they end up getting burnt out and quitting faster. Even if you start with a 10-minute walk a day, if it is something more than what you have been doing before, then you are already making progress.
A study published in The Journal of Exercise Nutrition & Biochemistry showed that obese women who did a 50-70 minutes walking program three days per week for 12 weeks significantly reduced their visceral fat compared to a sedentary control group.
A quick and easy way to start is to do a 10-minute walk every day after dinner, and then gradually increasing the duration and pace as you get comfortable. At 30-minute brisk walking pace can burn 100 to 300 calories (depending on your weight) or 200 to 600 calories in an hour.
Skip the crunches – for now
A simple and straightforward answer to this is that spot reduction - targeted weight loss - is just not possible. The only way you can lose belly fat is if you lose fat from your entire body. Doing crunches might actually make your stomach look bigger because it makes you build up thicker abs. Instead, strengthening your back muscles improves your posture pulls in your belly.
Here are alternative workout routines that can help reduce belly fats:
- Planks. First, get in the push-up position. Then rest on your elbows and forearms. Make sure to pull your stomach muscles tight, keeping your back, neck, and bottom in a straight line. Stay for 1 minute position or for as long as you can. Rest for 30 seconds and repeat 3-5 times.
- Squats. Stand with your feet about 8 inches (20 cm) apart. Extend your arms in front of you and do four sets of 25-30 squats.
- Side stretches. Stand up straight, with your feet hip-width apart. Put your right hand on your right hip then lift your left arm straight up. Your palm should be facing right. Keeping your legs centered, lean to the right and "reach" over with your left arm, stretching your left side. Repeat 5 times on each side.
Get enough sleep
Sleep is important for many aspects of your health, including maintaining proper weight. Studies have found that weight gain and likelihood of obesity among adults and children can be associated with poor sleep.
Many studies have found that people who lack sleep have an increased appetite.This is likely because of the impact of sleep on ghrelin and leptin - two important hunger hormones. Leptin is a hormone from fat cells that suppresses hunger and signals fullness in the brain. Ghrelin, on the other hand, is a hormone in the stomach that signals hunger in the brain. Levels of ghrelin are high before you eat, when the stomach is empty, and low after you eat. When you don’t get enough sleep, the body produces more ghrelin and less leptin, resulting in increased appetite and feeling of hunger more often.
Accept that your behaviors will adjust
More than the physical challenges of losing weight, your mindset and discipline also play crucial roles. If you are serious about losing those unwanted belly fats, you have to accept that your lifestyle will change to make this happen.
You may be used to going out with your friends and family for dinner very often, but when you do, make sure to still watch what you eat or drink. Giving in to cravings is also something you have to start controlling. It is difficult at first. But once you give time for your body to adjust, it will get easier eventually.
Sometimes, simply looking at yourself in the mirror is enough to give you the boost you need to do that workout or eat healthier meals.
Motivate yourself more by tracking your progress accurately. Measure your waist at least every two weeks. If you eat healthier and start to feel stronger, you will also lose belly fats fast. You will feel your pants to start being loose. Take pictures of yourself also at least every two weeks. Shoot photos in the front, back, and side. Side view photos will show you the most changes.