How to Lose Belly Fat
Updated: Mar 28
To address ways to lose belly fat it is important to understand what causes weight gain around the waistline.
Here are the top 5 culprits:
Dietary habits - high sugar and saturated fat intake, low fiber intake, inadequate water intake, and alcohol consumption.
Age - decreasing estrogen and testosterone levels lead to more fat accumulation around the waistline.
High stress and circulating stress hormones
Tips for losing belly fat
Adapting healthier habits like good nutrition, leading a physically active lifestyle, keeping stress levels down, and getting a good night's sleep will all help you naturally achieve a trimmer waistline.
Properly fueling your body with good nutrition will allow you to lose weight while maintaining energy levels and keeping hunger and cravings at bay. Here are my tips:
Plan meals and snacks around the best fat-burning macronutrient percentages. For most this is 40% carbohydrate, 30% protein, and 30% fat. Also, choose the right foods from each macronutrient.
Decrease added sugars. Choose foods in their most natural form. Craving something sweet? Choose a piece of fresh fruit or use herbs and spices that bring out the sweet flavor in place of adding sugar. Men should limit added sugar intake to no more than 36 grams per day and women 25 grams per day.
Drink water. It is involved in every cellular process within the body. Keeping your body properly hydrated keeps your metabolism running efficiently, helps regulate appetite, and helps with digestion.
Avoid alcohol. Your metabolism shuts down when alcohol is consumed. The body recognizes alcohol as a toxin and works hard to clear it from the body. During this time it is unable to metabolize fat stores in the body for energy.
Increase fiber through fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
Achieve a healthier diet by choosing lean protein sources, eating fruits and vegetables daily, making half your intake of grains 100% whole grains, and choosing unsaturated fat sources.
Meal and snack timing: Eat within an hour of waking, Plan to eat every 3-4 hours throughout the day, and stop eating 2-3 hours before bed
The best exercise regimen includes both aerobic and strength training for maximum fat burn and sustainable weight loss. Be strategic with your meal timing before and after exercise. The best fat-burning effect can be achieved by avoiding a pre-workout snack before low-intensity cardiovascular exercise like walking. While having a nutritious snack of protein and carbohydrates will best fuel your strength training workout and support your efforts to increase your lean body mass. Always have a post-workout snack for the best recovery.
Focus on core strength
Focusing on your core strength will help firm up the waistline while improving your balance and stability. A strong core offers the best back support and can help prevent spinal injuries.
Chronic stress can contribute to several harmful physiological events within the body. High cortisol levels cause fat stores and excess circulating fat to be relocated and deposited in the abdomen, which contributes to waistline expansion. In addition, hypertension (high blood pressure), hyperlipidemia (elevated lipids), and hyperglycemia (elevated glucose) have been linked to elevated cortisol levels. Waistline measurements less than 35 inches for women and less than 40 inches for men support a lower risk and help prevent developing cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes mellitus, and cerebrovascular disease.
Get your zzzz's
Sleep helps lower cortisol levels. It gives our brain and body time to rest and recharge. It helps improve memory and repair muscles. Sleep is a great way to boost your mood. It improves emotional regulation helping you stay calm and have more positive thoughts throughout the day. Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
Improve your sleep with a bedtime routine that supports relaxation. Tips to consider:
Stop eating 2-3 hours before bedtime.
Stretch or try relaxation yoga to help alleviate muscle tension.
Deep breathing or meditation.
Journaling - helps ease anxiety by getting your To-Do list or thoughts down on paper.
Turn off electronics an hour before bedtime - the blue light from cellphones, tablets, and tvs interferes with the body's circadian rhythm tricking your brain into thinking it's daytime.
Take a strategic approach and have a purpose behind your choices. Make time for meals to be enjoyed at a table free from distractions. Journal your food intake to help you make balanced food choices throughout the day. Set realistic exercise goals. Plan when, where, and how long you will exercise. Take a beginning waistline measurement, and track your waistline progress monthly. You will be more aware and mindful of your actions and progress if you record them.
Set Realistic Goals
Be patient with yourself. A healthy lifestyle is a journey, not a sprint. Start off by identifying 2-3 healthy lifestyle changes to focus on. Keep in mind that healthy weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week. Remember, the extra inches accumulated over time, and it will also take some time and devotion to lose them.