Belly fat sucks. It makes your jeans tighter, you feel uncomfortable in your bikini, and it can also worsen your health.
If you are overweight, when you look in the mirror you will see unflattering subcutaneous fat, which is fat under the skin. However, the more subcutaneous fat we have, the more likely we are to have visceral fat.
Visceral fat is fat that is stored deep in your tissue that can surround your organs. The more visceral fat you have the more it can put you at risk for heart attacks, high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes.
Take The Quiz: Which Veggies Fight Abdominal Fat?
The 10 Best Ways To Lose Stubborn Belly Fat
- Aerobic exercise
- Personal trainer
- Eat more protein
- Food journal
- Eat smaller and more frequent meals
- Sleep more
- Keep a sleep routine
- Eat more unsaturated fat
- Eat more fiber
Here are 10 tips to help you get rid of that stubborn belly fat!
1. Aerobic Exercise
In order to burn fat you need to increase your metabolism and do exercises that require more energy. Aerobic exercise is a great option.
The type of aerobic activity you do does not matter. You goal is to find an exercise that you enjoy, and do it with a moderate to high intensity to burn the most calories off.
A recent study had participants do exercise that had them burn either 400 kcal/session or 600 kcal/session and exercise was supervised for five days a week for 10 months. There were no changes in the diet for any of the three groups.
Ultimately it was proven that both of the exercise groups had more significant weight loss while the no exercise group had weight gain! Try to do aerobic exercise 5-7 times a week for 30 minutes or more.
Choose running, sprinting, rowing, boxing, cycling, or swimming. Or just join an adult club team and play your favorite sports with friends. Whatever you pick, stick with it and be consistent!
2. Personal Trainer
The hardest part about weight loss is deciding how to approach it. Getting a personal trainer as your coach will provide you with encouragement, support and knowledge.
When you weight lift, you will have someone that can closely monitor your form, but also give you an extra push so you can lift more weight safely and achieve better results.
Furthermore, having a personal trainer allows you to have someone that will be your biggest cheerleader and can answer any question you have on nutrition and exercise.
If you are worried about cost, try taking some group classes, or hire a personal trainer that can train you and a friend or spouse at the same time for a discount.
3. Eat More Protein
Protein is critical to help you lose weight. As we get older, our body will develop insulin resistance and will produce more insulin.
Insulin plays a role in fat storage. Consuming more protein may protect you from insulin resistance so you are less likely to store more fat.
Protein repairs your muscles and gets you leaner. Protein takes longer to digest, metabolize, and use, which means you burn more calories processing them.
Studies show eating more protein will contribute to weight loss. Try to consume anywhere from 0.5 to 1.0 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
Protein rich foods would be lean meats such as chicken, turkey, and fish. Try to eat 30g of protein in the morning with either a protein shake or omelet.
4. Food Journal
Only you know how much you eat….or do you? Studies show that when participants write down in a food journal how much they are eating and how often, it holds them more accountable to their diet.
In fact, a study showed that postmenopausal overweight-to-obese women enrolled in a 12-month program that had self-monitoring with food journals had greater weight loss.
Other studies also show that keeping candid track of your calories with food journals contributes to weight loss.
Be honest with yourself and get a food journal app for your phone so you can keep track!
5. Eat Smaller and More Frequent Meals
Eating smaller and more frequent meals can boost your fat-burning ability and keep you satiated so you are less likely to overeat.
When you are dieting you are already on a calorie deficit and can have lower sugars, which stimulates cravings for food. However, when you are constantly eating small meals throughout the day you are less likely to have these cravings and you can keep your hunger at bay.
Furthermore, eating more frequent smaller meals gives you more energy throughout the day since you have a constant supply of nutrients.
The simplest way to determine how many calories to eat with your meals is find to out how much you should be eating. Use this calculator to find how many calories you should eat to achieve your weight loss goal. Then divide those calories by 6. Now you can eat about that many calories with each of your smaller 6 meals a day.
more: How To Lose Stubborn Fat
6. Sleep More
Sleep is essential to help your body recover mentally and physically. Sleep deprivation will disrupt your hormone balance and leads to weight gain.
Most Americans sleep on average 6.8 hours a night.
However, it is recommended that most of us adults need 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Practice good sleep hygiene to keep you refreshed and energized for your work and workout.
7. Keep a Sleep Routine
A recent study from Harvard showed that women who go to bed and wake up at the same time have lower body fat.
It is essential to keep a sleep routine – even on the weekends. When you have your sleep cycle off, this will disrupt your hormones and your body is likely to secrete more cortisol and lead to weight gain.
Studies show that both a lack of sleep and an altered sleep schedule are independent risk factors for weight gain.
8. Eat More Unsaturated Fat
Saturated fats are more likely to contribute to your waistline and add on more unwanted visceral fat. However, polyunsaturated fats are more likely to help you stay leaner and improve your health, such as lowering your ldl (“bad”) cholesterol.
Polyunsaturated fats include Omega-3 and Omega-6 fat. The best fats to eat are walnuts, sunflower seeds, flax seeds or flax oil, fish (salmon, mackerel, herring, albacore tuna, and trout), corn oil, soybean oil or safflower oil.
Instead of eating cookies, snack on a handful of walnuts – but be sure to keep your portion small since nuts are high in calories. Sprinkle flax seed onto your meals for added health benefits and a crutch flavor.
When we are stressed we release a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone with multiple functions in different settings.
However, when it is chronically elevated when you are not exercising it can lead to fat storage. Cortisol can be released at high levels during stress.
Yoga has been shown to decrease stress levels. In turn this can help decrease the fat storing role of cortisol. Decrease your stress levels now with a yoga class or these techniques.
10. Eat More Fiber
Studies have shown extensively that fiber helps people decrease their risk for heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.
Increasing fiber intake improves insulin sensitivity in non-diabetic and diabetic individuals, which helps prevent weight gain.
Fiber also takes a while to digest and leads to improved satiety so you are less likely to eat on other foods.
The average woman should consume approximately 25g of fiber, while the average man should consume approximately 35g of fiber.
Foods rich in fiber include oatmeal, lentils, black beans, split peas, whole grain pasta, and blackberries.
Rajiv M Mallipudi, md, mhs is an internal medicine resident physician, personal trainer, athlete and author. He has over a decade of personal training experience and helped hundreds of clients of all levels achieve their weight loss and fitness goals. This inspired him to work as a clinical researcher at the nationally recognized, Johns Hopkins Hospital Weight Management Center. During medical school he and his classmates created the health and wellness organization, med fit, which provided personal training and nutrition counseling to the medical student body. In his spare time, Dr. Mallipudi enjoys playing ice hockey, dancing, and training for his next bodybuilding and powerlifting competitions. Dr. Mallipudi serves as a contributing writer for the Diet and Fitness sections.
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