How to lose belly fat fast and keep it off for good.
I caught up with registered dietician, Lisa Smith, London to reveal the top 13 tips to melt that belly fat fast.
Not only can belly fat make us feel more self-conscious, but it’s also deadly. Yes, really. According to WebMD, visceral fat, or stomach fat, is a major contributing factor for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and metabolic disease.
But, we all know that shedding that stubborn fat is easier said than done. Why does it seem that whenever we lose weight, we lose it everywhere but the mid-section? It’s because fat stores slightly differently here than elsewhere in the body says Lisa. ‘Fat cells grow in size quicker here too.’
Getting rid of belly fat requires consistency, dedication, and patience.
And some simple knowledge of how the body flushes fat. Though you can’t spot train fat away, you can certainly ramp up your overall weight loss efforts, boost your metabolism and help your body do the hard work, more easily.
1. Lower Your Stress
Before you follow any of the other tips, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got this one in check first. Stress is the number one enemy of fat loss, and can even be THE reason why your stubborn belly fat isn’t shifting.
Stress plays havoc on our hormones, particularly estrogen, testosterone and progesterone, increasing our cravings for unhealthy foods.
Plus, the cortisol stress hormone tells the body to store more fat because the brain believes we are in ‘physical danger’. The brain cannot distinguish between real danger and fake danger. Make sure to do a stress check before changing anything else.
2. Increase Your Fiber Intake
You’ve heard it before, but we will say it again. Fiber. You need it in your diet. The more soluble fiber you add to your diet; the more belly fat you will be able to lose.
Why? Because fiber helps to stabilise your blood sugar levels, keeping you from having post-meal energy crashes. Try adding leafier vegetables, berries, beans and legumes into your diet. Fiber also acts a natural hunger hormone suppressant, helping you to feel fuller for longer.
3. Reduce Your Alcohol Intake
There is such a thing as a ‘beer belly’, and that’s because most alcohol is packed with sugar. Wine, especially thanks to its’ grape origin.
And because it’s simple sugar, it wildly spikes your blood sugar and insulin levels leading to an increase in fat storage because you’re body doesn’t know what to do with it.
Try limiting your alcohol intake to the weekend, and avoid binge drinking. You’re gut, and pretty much every other organ will thank you.
4. Start Weight Training
Weight training is something most people shy away from, especially women, says Lisa. But, we want to dispel a myth and share a secret with you at the same time. Women don’t have the necessary hormones to ‘bulk’ like guys.
We have a fraction of the testosterone they do, states Lisa. But, here’s the secret, weight training is one of the BEST ways to melt belly fat fast.
Why? Weight training releases a small amount of growth hormone that promotes fat loss. Recent studies show that weight training can actually burn more calories than most forms of cardiovascular exercise in LESS time.
One 20 minute session of weights can equate to the same effect as 1 hour of cardio.
5. Drink More Water
It’s super easy to mistake hunger for thirst. Staying hydrated is essential for any weight loss. Drinking water not only keeps your skin supple and hydrated, but also can boost your metabolism by up to 30% simply by drinking 2 litres of water a day.
6. Avoid Liquid Calories
We talked about how careful you need to be when selecting these so called lean and slim smoothies when out and about due to their insane added sugar content in this post.
‘It’s true, often people don’t know just how much sugar they’re consuming on a daily basis in their drinks!’ states Lisa. There are some serious problems with liquid calories.
The issue with these pre-made drinks is we have no control over what preservatives, creamers, sweeteners and other fat gaining products are added for flavour.
Stick to tea and basic coffee, or if you prefer to slurp your calories away, make sure you’re doing it in the best way possible; wholesome smoothies that are jam packed with minerals, vitamins and other nutrients!
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7. Stay Away From Trans Fats
Trans fats lead to increased belly fat according to a study which showed that a high trans fat diet lead to a 33% increase in belly fat. Not all fats are created equally, so make sure to read the labels on food products. If the product lists a high percentage of trans fats, put it back.
8. Swap Out Processed Grains
Pasta, bread, bagels, and cereal are all processed grains. Processing effectively strips all of the nutritional value out of these foods, leading to very little fibre and a lot of sugary, refined carbs! Not good. This can lead to bloating, cramps and serious blood sugar spikes. Stick to the healthier wholegrain alternatives which are overall healthier for your gut and blood sugars.
9. Eat More Monounsaturated Fats
As we mentioned earlier, not all fats are created equally. Monounsaturated fats are actually heart healthy, and can steady insulin levels and reduce cholesterol levels. Monounsaturated fats can lessen the chance of fat storage that we see with trans fats.
10. Eat More Omega-3 Fats
The benefits of eating more Omega 3 fatty acids are often underappreciated. Upping your Omega 3 fats can revolutionise the way your body looks, feels and of course deals with fat storage. Eating more Omegas 3’s can lead to an increased metabolism rate, improved blood sugar levels and decreased cortisol stress production.
11. Do A Detox
There is a great debate about whether detoxes really work, but according to Harvard Health there is a beneficial way to detox.
A detox is not about starving yourself or just drinking liquid meals; it’s about nourishing your body with whole, raw and nutrient rich foods. It’s like a system reset, and can help to restore your body back to its natural order.
This can jumpstart your fat loss efforts, and many people can expect to start seeing results within 14 days, says Lisa.
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12. Spice Up Your Diet
There are certain herbs and spices that have been prove to boost the metabolism and speed up weight loss results. Some of these include cinnamon, cayenne pepper, paprika, turmeric, cumin and ginger. These herbs and spices have been used by many native groups for years as excellent natural weight loss aids, thanks to their thermogenic or metabolism boosting compounds.
13. Increase Your Protein Intake
You probably already know this one, but protein is a must have in your diet if you are serious about losing weight. Why? Protein is extremely filling, satisifies cravings and has the highest thermogenic effect of all the macronutrients.
This means protein takes more energy than fat or carbohydrates to digest, thus resulting in a calorie balance or deficit in some cases. In combination with weight training, adding protein to your diet can lead to a great reduction in belly fat.
Muscle mass requires on average 5 times the amount of energy to maintain than fat, meaning you will burn more calories even at rest!
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Armed with these simple, science backed tips, you’ll be able to get rid of stomach fat and keep it off for good. Instead of trying to implement all 13 of these tips at once, try to incorporate 1 or 2 tips first and work through them gradually depending upon your results.