Many of us have found ourselves waking up to the chilling realization that we have grown a belly. While it happens over a period of time, it can often seem like it happened overnight.
Even with a good metabolism, getting rid of belly fat or excess fat around your waistline can seem incredibly difficult. But a little tummy never hurt anybody, right? Wrong, research shows that abdominal fat is linked to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.
But, before you can learn how to lose belly fat, you need to find out what causes it. Prevention is better than cure, after all!
What Causes Belly Fat?
Understanding the causes of belly fat helps you prevent gaining it in the first place. If you never had a belly, you won't have to lose anything!
But, there's more to weight gain than eating too much. There are other factors that can cause you to gain weight around your waistline.
Trans fats are the major culprits behind the destruction of all your hard work for losing weight. These sneaky fats don't just add weight to your belly but move fat from other parts of your body to accumulate around the waist.
Since many brands do not actively disclose the trans fat in their products, it can be difficult to know if you're actually consuming them. So, it's best to look for hydrogenated fat and hydrogenated vegetable oils. These are the trans fats causing fat storage in your belly!
Stress is dangerous for every reason you can think of, including contributing to an increase in subcutaneous fat.
When you're stressed, say for a presentation or an exam, your cortisol levels shoot through the roof. It also triggers the release of insulin in your body which shuts down your digestive system for a bit.
Once the threat has passed, you end up ravenous because of your low blood sugar levels. This explains why a cake looks a whole lot better than some fruit after a particularly stressful meeting.
Alcohol is the malefactor for accumulating belly fat faster than you can get rid of it.
The famed beer belly is more than real since the alcohol you consume is turned to acetate, which your body can't store. Instead, it becomes your energy source, and the carbs and fat swirling around are converted to fat.
Not to mention, your drunken guilty indulgences don't do you any favors. But when you finally start working out, you'll find that alcohol has, in fact, sapped your testosterone, making it difficult to burn fat.
The Wrong Gut Bacteria
Gut bacteria are valid, important, and even vital to the healthy functioning of your body. Having a diverse range of gut bacteria helps you lose weight and function correctly.
Best Foods To Lose Belly Fat
A good diet combined with an exercise routine is the best way to shed any sort of weight, not just your belly fat. However, we all have our cravings.
So, here's a comprehensive list of foods that you can eat to get rid of that belly fat without compromising on the food you like!
When it isn't slathered in butter and salt, popcorn is actually one of the best snack foods for weight loss.
If you're starving and are desperately looking for a snack, then a ton of popcorn will set you right without the added calories. It is one of the best high-volume items apart from vegetables, of course.
Popcorn contains a lot of dietary fibers, which is great for weight loss and for escaping that fat diet. Losing belly fat gets a lot easier when you can sate your body and get rid of your belly fat.
#2 Egg Whites
If you're on the lookout for nutritional high-volume food, then you've hit the jackpot. Egg whites are pure protein with no carbs or fat! Much like popcorn, they can be consumed in large amounts to fill up your stomach and reduce the hunger you tend to feel throughout the day.
A high protein diet also helps you retain muscle mass during weight loss. So, eating egg whites every day is sure to make you shed that annoying belly fat and build up that muscle.
Besides, research shows that 12 eggs per week can work well for losing weight without adding a lot of calories.
If you're looking for a method to include carbs into your diet without the added sugar, then oats are the perfect way to go.
Oats are a high-volume food with tons of fibers and basically no added sugar. Not only are they the perfect addition to your diet for the week, but they help in keeping your blood glucose level stabilized when you're working out.
Oats don't always have to be plain. A half-cup of oats turns into a full cup when cooked. When you add some fruit to the mix, you've got yourself a nutritious meal that will still help you reduce fat.
Fruits have a bad reputation when it comes to weight loss diets. Nobody can decide whether they're worth including in your diet or not.
The sugars present in fruits are the primary reason to exclude them from a healthy diet. However, many people forget that certain sugars are, in fact, healthy!
Fruits are low-calorie foods that add much-needed nutrients and sweetness to your diet and help in keeping your meals tasty. Blueberries are the perfect addition to any weight loss diet. It comes with an incredible amount of fibers, a low amount of calories, and is great pre-workout food!
#5 Casein Protein Powder
It may seem odd to ingest a protein powder when you're already eating so much protein. However, casein protein powder helps with better nitrogen retention and utilization.
A little bit of the powder before you go to sleep also ensures that there's some protein for your muscles through the night.
#6 Chicken Breast
Chicken breasts are the ideal fat diet food. They are rich in protein with virtually no carbs and fills up your stomach with ease.
Not to mention, they're absolutely delicious and can be eaten with a variety of sides, sauces, or even alone. People often go for a side of chicken breast on a weight-loss diet.
#7 White Fish
If you're bored of chicken breasts and are looking for an alternative, then white fish is another lean protein. Any fitness website will tell you that white fish is one of the best food for fat loss.
#8 Ground Turkey
Ground turkey is a versatile option for any fat loss diet plan. You can eat it as a burger, stir fry it, put it in your salad, whatever you'd like.
Much like chicken, it is virtually free of fat and carbs. So, you can enjoy a nice meal without being worried about belly fat.
WATCH THE full VIDEO VERSION with 2 bonus foods!
How to Lose Belly Fat
When you're focused on losing weight, it is easy to get swept up in trying all the latest dieting fads. However, there are sure-shot ways to lose body fat, especially belly fat, without having to starve yourself.
Eat Soluble Fiber
Fiber is the key to all fat loss. All through this article, you've seen us stress the importance of consuming fiber, that is because the health benefits of fibers go beyond just weight loss.
When you consume fibers to lose fat, you're essentially tricking your body into feeling full faster.
One study showed that a 10-gram increase in the intake of soluble fiber, weight gain around the belly reduced by 3.7%. So, consuming high-fiber food can help with belly fat loss!
Be sure to include high fiber foods in your every day diet. You can include foods such as flax seeds, avocados, and blackberries!
Avoid Trans Fats
We've explained how terrible trans fats are for you. Your abdominal fat is only going to increase as you consume those horrible trans fats.
When avoiding trans fats, carefully read the ingredients list and look for hydrogenated fats or vegetable oils. These are, in fact, trans fats and you need to avoid these in your diets!
Don't Drink Too Much
Alcohol destroys more than just your liver. It deposits a nice, thick layer of fat on your belly. Science and studies have routinely linked alcohol to obesity. So limiting the amount of alcohol you drink can definitely help you burn that belly fat!
High Protein Diet
All of the best meals to lose fat include a large amount of protein. This is to prevent fullness and increase your metabolic rate!
When you raise your metabolic rate, you end up losing weight without losing your muscle.
Reduce Your Stress Levels
We've shown how stress levels can contribute to belly fat accumulation. A great way to reduce the amount of abdominal fat and cut down your obesity is to lower your cortisol levels.
Practicing yoga, meditation, engaging in relaxing activities are all ways of reducing your belly fat and take care of your body.
Cut Out The Sugary Foods
Sugary beverages and foods are one of the biggest culprits of body weight gain. There have been several studies that link high sugar intake to an increase in belly fat.
It is necessary to reduce your consumption of refined sugars and switch to healthier alternatives such as honey. But go easy on the honey as well!
Cardio Is The Way To Go
Physical activity is a necessary part of the weight loss process. When you're trying to lose weight, just a diet won't show results for good health.
In terms of workouts, cardio is seen to be the most effective. The intensity of the workout can be moderate or high, but make sure to have your exercise routine last at least thirty minutes. This form of exercise helps with burning calories and, in turn, your belly fat faster. Try HIIT sprints as your cardio workout!
Resistance and Strength Exercises
Resistance training is better known as strength training. Not only will you reduce belly fat but you will also build muscle mass.
Studies have shown that a combination of strength training and aerobic exercises is the best form of exercise to reduce visceral fat.
Strength training, however, requires professional guidance, at least in the beginning. When you're starting to lift weights and build muscle, the chances of injury are a lot higher, so get some help.
Getting enough sleep is incredibly important when you're trying to remain healthy. Not only does it affect your mental health, but it can help you grow and lose weight!
People with sleep issues tend to gain weight more than those who are well-rested. Conditions such as sleep apnea are linked to excess visceral fat and adversely affect your health. So, it isn't just the amount of rest you're getting but also the quality.
If it wasn't already, then make sleep a priority and take care of your physical and mental health alike!
Try Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is the latest fad in the dieting world. But if you're going to try this method, then make sure to pull the brakes the minute you experience any negative health effects.
Intermittent fasting involves shifting between periods of eating and fasting. There are two methods of doing this.
In the first method, you can do a 24-hour fast once or twice a week. In the other method, you eat all your food within an 8-hour period and fast for 16 hours.
The method has shown significant results. Science has shown that intermittent fasting can lead to a 4-7% decrease in belly fat within a 6 - 24 week period.
Combine different methods
Lastly, you should know that a single method will not work wonders. Losing belly fat may be easy, but that doesn't mean it happens overnight. As with losing any body weight, it requires a combination of different methods to get any results without compromising your health.
Simply going on an intermittent diet isn't going to work. Instead, combining intermittent dieting with regular exercise and the right nutrition intake can have healthier and more visible results. Not only will you see results, but they're also likely to last longer!
If certain combinations of these methods are not working for you, then you can easily switch it up and improve. It is best to be careful when you have medical conditions that require a certain lifestyle as well. So, whatever major lifestyle changes you're planning on implementing, run it by your doctor first!
Body fat can be your biggest enemy. The increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and more is just the tip of the iceberg.
Belly fat can be particularly harmful to your physical health and self-image. So, getting rid of it is the way to improve both physical and mental health. Let's just be thankful that there are tons of easy ways to lose that belly!