Belly fat is a huge issue for a lot of people, especially those in developed countries. With the sedentary lifestyles we lead and junk food so easily accessible to us, the average paunch has only grown over the decades.
While a bit of fat in other body parts, such as the hips, may actually be a good sign of heart health, excessive abdominal fat doesn’t fall into that category. In fact, having a lot of belly fat can lead to several health issues. The most common of them include cardiovascular issues and, of course, type 2 diabetes.
Needless to say, losing much of that bulging belly would not only make your clothes fit better, but it would also improve your overall health. Read the tips below to work on reducing that tummy to look and feel your very best:
1. Cut Out Sugar
Eliminating refined sugar from your diet would definitely make your life and health better in many unexpected ways. The foods we consume have a certain amount of sugar in them anyway. It’s all too easy to consume the recommended amount of sugar each day, so you won't be missing out when you skip dessert or substitute it with some delicious fruit.
Carbonated drinks, sweetened teas or coffees, and sugar-laden treats are a huge no-no when you have a belly that needs shrinking. These habits could wreak havoc on our metabolic rate and lead to even more weight gain in the near future.
Plus, consuming additional sugar could overload your liver with fructose. Since the liver doesn’t know what to do with it all, it ends up turning all that fructose into extra fat. The most obvious place for depositing that fat would be your belly. This is where the insulin resistance and metabolic problems arise.
Sugary drinks are even worse than sweet foods, causing you to down hundreds of empty calories in a single glass. It’s no wonder that soda and junk food are making kids increasingly obese. It’s, hence, necessary that you cut out the sugar from you diets and those of your kids as well.
2. Up the Protein Intake
When you are trying to lose weight and excess fat, protein is a highly important factor. While not really encouraged in strict diets like the ketogenic regime, protein is an excellent item to include in your long-term plan for weight loss.
Protein in lentils and other foods can actually fight against the belly fat you already have. Thus, it’s an amazing macronutrient that could drop your weight over the years. It does so by reducing your cravings by more than half, boosting your metabolism to burn more calories, and generally helping consume fewer calories.
Studies have shown that people who consume a higher level of protein have significantly less belly fat on average than those who get most of their calories from carbohydrates. Fruits and veggies are excellent sources of proteins and directly lead to reduced belly fat.
Ideally, your calorie intake should consist of one-fourth to one-third proteins. This would include the above-mentioned sources as well as eggs, nuts, dairy, meat, legumes, and seafood. A great way to get protein without too much effort is to try and cook your meals in coconut oil.
3. Do Away with Carbs
A low-carb diet is by far one of the most effective and quick-acting ones. As soon as you cut your carbs by a drastic amount, your body fat would start being used up for energy. This could cause a very rapid reduction in weight and excess fat overall.
In fact, cutting carbs would also put a hold on your cravings and binge-eating sessions. This is why low-carb diets are even more effective at melting away excessive fat than low-fat diets. As long as you’re avoiding bread, pasta, rice, and other simple carbohydrates, you can eat your fill and not feel guilty.
4. More Fiber
Eating a high-fiber diet can help you feel full for longer periods of time. This would automatically cause you to consume fewer calories, thus reducing your weight by a large amount.
However, it’s important to remember that not all fiber-rich foods are too healthy. Sure, fiber keeps your digestive system in check, but it could also cause some issues in that area if over consumed. The fibers you want to look for are the viscous and soluble kinds. These would go into your body and gel inside your gut. The best sources of soluble fiber are veggies and fruits along with legumes and whole oats.
The result of this phenomenon would consist of food moving more slowly through your body. Your appetite would go down and so would the cravings! Around 14 grams of soluble fiber in a day could lead to calories being reduced by 10%, meaning a direct loss of 2 kg in four months. This may seem slow, but it’s a sustainable rate and can be supplemented by other weight loss efforts.
When it comes to losing belly fat, you want to aid your dietary habits with some regular exercise. Staying active in general and having a proper workout routine can do wonders for firming up your body, making you feel happier, and losing that problematic belly fat.
Don’t just focus on abdominal exercises. Losing weight from the whole body is what would firm up that belly. Spot exercises have proven to be a myth, so use your time efficiently!
You can gauge whether you have excessive belly fat by measuring your waist with a tape measure. For the average man, anything more than 40 inches is considered abdominal obesity. For women, 35 inches is the tipping point.
Excess belly fat, even if not paired with overall heaviness, is a serious issue. If you notice even a little bit of extra jiggle in this area, follow the strategies above. They’ve been proven to work especially well in reducing the fat in the belly area and improving your overall health.