Stubborn tummy fat can be very hard to shift. Due to our often sedentary lifestyles and stressful jobs, medicated with alcohol and biscuits, belly fat can easily build up. And, it’s not just our ability to win the swimsuit competition that’s affected by the belly build up: fat deposits around the belly are linked to serious health issues, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Overweight does not necessarily equal unhealthy.There are actually plenty of overweight people who are in excellent health.Conversely, many normal weight people have the metabolic problems associated with obesity.That’s because the fat under the skin is actually not that big of a problem (at least not from a health standpoint, it’s more of a cosmetic problem).It’s the fat in the abdominal cavity, the belly fat, that causes the biggest issues.If you have a lot of excess fat around your waistline, even if you’re not very heavy, then you should take some steps to get rid of it.Belly fat is usually estimated by measuring the circumference around your waist. This can easily be done at home with a simple tape measure.
Below, we’ve compiled ten easy-to-follow steps that can help melt that middle away. From introducing more protein and soluble fibre into your diet, to adding resistance training to your workouts, it shouldn’t be long before you’re saying bye bye beer belly, hello fab abs!
Green tea is an exceptionally healthy beverage.It contains caffeine and the antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), both of which appear to boost metabolism.EGCG is a catechin, which several studies suggest may be effective for losing belly fat. The effect may be strengthened when green tea consumption is combined with exercise.
Although fruit juice provides vitamins and minerals, it’s just as high in sugar as soda and other sweetened beverages.Drinking large amounts may carry the same risk for abdominal fat gain.An 8-ounce (248-gram) serving of unsweetened apple juice contains 24 grams of sugar, half of which is fructose.To help reduce excess belly fat, replace fruit juice with water, unsweetened iced tea or sparkling water with a wedge of lemon or lime.
Sleep is important for many aspects of health, including your weight. Studies show that people who don’t get enough sleep tend to gain more weight, which may include belly fat.A 16-year study of more than 68,000 women found those who slept less than 5 hours per night were significantly more likely to gain weight than those who slept 7 hours or more per night.The condition known as sleep apnea, where breathing actually stops intermittently during the night, has also been linked to excess visceral fat.In addition to sleeping at least 7 hours per night, make sure you’re getting sufficient quality sleep.If you suspect you may have sleep apnea or another sleep disorder, speak to a doctor and get treated.
Soluble fiber absorbs water and forms a gel that helps slow down food as it passes through your digestive system.Studies show this type of fiber promotes weight loss by helping you feel full so you naturally eat less. It may also decrease the amount of calories your body absorbs from food.What’s more, soluble fiber may help fight belly fat. An observational study of over 1100 adults found that for every 10-gram increase in soluble fiber intake, belly fat gain decreased by 3.7% over a 5-year period.Make an effort to consume high-fiber foods every day. Excellent sources of soluble fiber include flaxseeds, shirataki noodles, Brussels sprouts, avocados, legumes and blackberries.
Alcohol can have health benefits in small amounts, but it is seriously harmful if you drink too much.Research suggests too much alcohol can also make you gain belly fat.Observational studies link heavy alcohol consumption with significantly increased risk of central obesity — that is, excess fat storage around the waist.Cutting back on alcohol may help reduce your waist size. You don’t need to give it up altogether if you enjoy it, but limiting the amount you drink in a single day can help.In a study of more than 2000 people, those who drank alcohol daily but averaged less than one drink per day had less belly fat than those who drank less frequently but consumed more alcohol on the days they did drink.
Protein is an extremely important nutrient for weight control.High protein intake increases release of the fullness hormone PYY, which decreases appetiteand promotes fullness. Protein also raises your metabolic rate and helps you retain muscle mass during weight loss.Many observational studies show that people who eat more protein tend to have less abdominal fat than those who eat a lower-protein diet.Be sure to include a good protein source at every meal, such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy, whey protein or nuts.
Sugar contains fructose, which has been linked to several chronic diseases when consumed in excess.These include heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and fatty liver disease.Observational studies show a relationship between high sugar intake and increased abdominal fat.It’s important to realize that more than just refined sugar can lead to belly fat gain. Even “healthier” sugars (such as real honey) should be used sparingly.
Aerobic exercise (cardio) is an effective way to improve health and burn calories.Studies also show it is one of the most effective forms of exercise for reducing belly fat. However, results are mixed regarding whether moderate-intensity or high-intensity exercise is more beneficial.Regardless of intensity, how often and how much you exercise is important. One study found postmenopausal women lost more fat from all areas when they did aerobic exercise for 300 minutes per week versus 150 minutes per week.
Resistance training, also known as weight lifting or strength training, is important for preserving and gaining muscle mass.Based on studies in people with prediabetes, type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease, resistance training may also be beneficial for belly fat loss.In fact, one study in overweight teenagers showed that a combination of strength training and aerobic exercise led to the greatest decrease in visceral fat.If you decide to start weight lifting, it is a good idea to get advice from a certified personal trainer.
Intermittent fasting has recently become very popular for weight loss.It is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of eating and periods of fasting.One popular method involves 24-hour fasts once or twice a week. Another involves fasting every day for 16 hours and eating all your food in an 8 hour period.In a review of studies on intermittent fasting and alternate-day fasting, people experienced a 4–7% decrease in abdominal fat within a period of 6-24 weeks.