If you’re trying to lose belly fat, it’s probably because you don’t like the way it looks. However, there is another good reason to slim down around your midsection. Excess abdominal fat can lead to some serious health problems, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
First of all…
Why belly fat is dangerous
Excess belly fat is more than just a vanity issue. It can pose some serious health problems. First of all, there are different types of belly fat and they are not created equal.
Different types of belly fat
There are actually two different types of belly fat:
Subcutaneous fat is the the ‘visible’ fat just under the skin. It’s what most people are worried about because it makes them look, well… fat. If you can’t see your six pack (or your feet), subcutaneous fat is probably the culprit. However, it’s actually the second type of belly fat that you should be most worried about…
Also called intra-abdominal fat, this is fat that is found between the organs in your midsection. It’s not visible like subcutaneous fat. However it’s a lot nastier than its visible counterpart.
Why is intra-abdominal fat so dangerous?
Visceral fat cells are active cells. They increase the production of inflammatory chemicals called cytokines. This leads to inflammation, which is a risk factor for numerous health problems including diabetes, arthritis, stroke and cancer. Visceral fat also interferes with hormones that regulate your weight, appetite, mood and brain function.
Diet changes to lose belly fat
You’ve probably heard the saying ‘Abs start in the kitchen’. About 80% of getting rid of unwanted fat comes down to what you eat. This means the fastest way to lose belly fat is going to be by making lasting changes to your diet.
Here are some simple nutrition tips that can help you lose unwanted belly flab…
Start eating ‘real’ food
Eating for fat loss is not just about reducing your calorie intake. What’s just as important is the type of foods those calories are coming from.
One of the best things you can do to lose belly fat naturally is to switch from processed foods to natural foods. This means switching from canned, frozen, baked and dried foods to vegetables, fruits, nuts and natural sources of protein like grass-fed beef and eggs.
For a great resource on eating real food for fat loss, check out The Fat Burning Kitchen by Mike Geary and Catherine Ebeling.
Studies show that eating a breakfast that is rich in protein and fiber keeps your insulin levels steadier and helps curb your cravings throughout the day.
Eat the right types of healthy fats
It’s not necessarily true that eating fat makes you fat. Actually, eating the right amount of healthy fats is crucial to maintaining your health and getting rid of unwanted fat.
Healthy fats like those found in avocados, grass-fed butter, nuts, eggs and even dark chocolate are not only good for you… they also help keep hunger at bay and prevent cravings.
Drink plenty of water
Studies have found that overweight people who drank 50 oz (1.5 liters) of water daily for a few weeks experienced a significant reduction in waist circumference and body fat.
Drinking water before meals has also been shown to reduce your appetite, causing you to consume less calories during your meal.
Add cinnamon to your meals
Studies show that cinnamon can be a powerful weapon in your fight against stubborn belly fat. It acts as an appetite suppressant, boosts your metabolism and helps keep your blood sugar levels balanced. Cinnamon has a unique property which allows it to mimic the effect of insulin. Besides helping you get rid of belly fat cinnamon also has numerous other health benefits.
Exercising to burn belly fat
Combining a healthy diet with sufficient exercise is important, not just to get a flatter belly, but also for maintaining a strong and healthy body.
First of all…
How NOT to exercise if you want to get rid of belly fat
If you’ve looked online for exercise to burn belly fat, you’ve probably come across page after page of ‘ab exercises’. Actually, focusing on your abs is one of the least effective ways to lose belly fat. It’s a myth that exercising stomach muscles targets your stomach fat (also known as spot reduction )
To burn fat as effectively as possible you should be focusing on exercises that burn the largest amount of calories. This means activating as many muscle groups as possible… not just your abs.
Here’s how you really burn belly fat with exercise…
Start training with weights
Resistance training, when done correctly, is a powerful weapon against belly fat. Unlike aerobic exercise, weight training keeps your metabolism stoked and your body burning calories for hours after you finished your workout.
The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn each day. Resistance training also causes small micro tears in your muscles, causing your body to expend extra energy in order to recover.
Focus on whole body exercises that activate as many large muscles as possible, like squats, lunges, pull ups and push ups.
Start doing High-Intensity Intervals (HIIT)
HIIT alternates brief periods of high-intensity exercise with brief rest periods. Research shows that interval training is one of the best ways to improve muscle and build endurance. It’s also a great way to burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time.
Personally I’m a huge fan of the F4X system taught in Old School New Body, which combines resistance training with a form of HIIT for maximum fat burning.
Find more excuses to move
A great way to start burning more calories throughout the day is to simply find more opportunities to move about…
- Walk about when your on the phone
- Do some moderate exercises while you’re watching tv
- Walk or cycle to workout
- Walk during your lunch breaks
- Do 5 push ups whenever you enter your living room
- Use a pedometer or step tracking app and aim for 10,000 steps per day.
If you take a few minutes to think about it, you can probably come up with numerous creative ways to be more active throughout the day.
Lifestyle changes for a lean belly
Besides following a healthy diet and getting the right amount (and the right type) of exercise, here are some other things you can do to speed up the process of getting a flatter stomach:
During times of stress your body produces a hormone called cortisol. This causes your body to store more fat.
Take some time each day to relax. Even 15 minutes can have a profound effect on your stress levels.
Most people need at least 7 but preferably 8 hours of sleep per night. It’s best to stop using any type of screen (pc, laptop, tv, tablet or smartphone) 30 minutes before you go to bed.
5 Simple Steps to Lose Belly Fat Fast: Looking to get rid of that unwanted belly pooch as quickly as possible? Follow these 5 simple but proven steps to speed up your results.