This should come as no surprise to you: The more belly fat you have the higher your risk is for heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and even cancer.
It has been shown that there are greater health care risks for men who have a waist measurement greater than 40 inches, and women who have a waist measurement greater than 35 inches.
While we do not measure our waistline routinely, if you begin to notice that your pants are becoming tighter or that you are using fewer notches on your belt, it is time to reevaluate your weight management and begin to get a stricter diet and exercise regimen.
However, let me start off first by emphasizing that you cannot target fat reduction from just your waist. That is impossible.
If you want to lose fat from your belly you need to burn more fat through a combination of diet and exercise. In the end not only will you lose unflattering fat from your waistline, but you will improve your health.
Here are 5 tried and true ways to lose belly fat.
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How To Lose Belly Fat Fast
Shrink Belly Fat Step 1: Diet with appropriate caloric reduction
It doesn’t matter if you ran 10 miles every day for 6 weeks and burnt thousands of calories…if you come home and eat a bowl of ice cream and large pizza every night.
Why? You are adding the calories back that you just burnt! You need to be at a caloric deficit so the body will burn off fat for energy.
Start off by finding out how many calories you should be consuming a day by using the The nih Body Weight Planner. This is an excellent tool to find your recommended current caloric intake and see what adjustments you need to make to achieve a goal weight in a given amount of time.
Once you find out how many calories you should be eating a day, subtract 500 from that. So if the nihcalculator recommends you eat 1900 calories, subtract 500 and now eat 1400 a day. This caloric deficit will help you burn fat.
Do not take away too many calories as your body will go into “starvation mood” and will get hungrier and more likely to start binge eating. Furthermore, when you are in “starvation mode” the body will go into a catabolic state and even break down muscle for energy and you will get weaker and more tired. Keep a balance.
Reduce your carbohydrate intake by roughly half of what you eat so that you have high energy levels but you are still in a caloric deficit so that you don’t store it as fat. And of course, eat plenty of vegetables and water to fill up.
One trick that you can use to feel satiated is to first drink an entire glass of water before you eat. This excess water will make you fuller. Then eat the protein and vegetables which will digest slowly making you feel fuller. Then eat the carbohydrates last.
I find that this routine makes me fuller and I have reduced cravings on my diet.
Shrink Belly Fat Step 2: Exercise = Weightlifting + Cardio
If you look at most world class female athletes from the Olympics they all have slim waist, toned legs and arms and retain their sexy feminine look.
There is no secret here. They all lift weights and do cardio. All of them. Weightlifting will add muscle and shape to your figure. The cardio will help strip away the fat.
Unfortunately, many women are nervous about weightlifting due to a concern that they will get “too big” like female bodybuilders. Let me assure you that you will not become She-Hulk.
A lot of those female bodybuilders are enhanced with steroids and have a masculine appearance. Weightlifting will not do this to you. In fact, weightlifting will add muscle which enhances your feminine body shape.
Start off by weightlifting three times a week and doing cardio exercises afterwards. If you need guidance, sign up with a personal trainer, or ask your friend or partner to teach you.
Men love it when women work out, and this can help strengthen the relationship between you and your partner as you work towards a common goal. Here’s a sample workout for a newbie coming to the gym for the first time.
3 sets of 20-25 repetitions. Use your body weight alone to make sure you have proper form, and as you get stronger add on dumbbells.
3 sets of 20-25 repetitions. Use your body weight alone and do lunges across the gym to work your core, glutes and quads. As you get stronger add dumbbell weights.
Flat Bench Dumbbell Press
3 sets of 20-25 repetitions. Start off lying down on the bench then use two dumbbells to push up towards the sky and bring the dumbbells together. Once you get to the top, squeeze your chest then lower all the way down until your elbows are below the bench. Do this to strengthen your chest, shoulders and arms.
3 sets of as many as you can do! Use as assisted pullup machine if you need and go until you cannot do anymore.
3 sets of as many as you can, ideally 15-20. If you can’t do regular pushups do them on your knees. As you get stronger do them regularly on your toes.
3 sets of 20-25 repetitions. Do as many as you can and when you curl the dumbbell up squeeze you biceps hard. You will feel a burn.
After weightlifting, do any type of aerobic activity for 30 minutes at a moderate intensity.
This means that you should not be on your phone, watching a movie, reading a magazine or having a conversation with your friend.
Doing activity at a moderate intensity means you should be feeling short of breath, but not too tired. If it is too easy, you need to pick up the pace.
Pick any aerobic activity you want. I like the treadmill and elliptical, but some days I do the rowing machine. You can even use the Stairmaster. It doesn’t matter.
The goal is to get consistent and find an aerobic exercise you enjoy and do it for 30 minutes a day three times a week. As you get more advanced you can try hiit.
You will notice that many of these exercises have a high repetition range of 20-25. This is done on purpose because the more you do these movements they will become second nature.
After 2-3 weeks of this workout, try to lower the repetitions form 20-25 to 10-15 reps and increase the weight. This should become more challenging. But keep your form to stay safe.
If you need help with your form always ask a personal trainer or an experienced weightlifting friend to assist you.
Shrink Belly Fat Step 3: Ab Exercises
At the end of the day, once you burn all the fat, you want to show your sexy new abs! So you need to make them strong first.
Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter what type of abdominal exercise you do. Personally, I like to mix it up for variety.
I find it more fun and challenging when I change the repetitions up too. Some days I aim for 20-30 reps, and other days I add some weight resistance and go for 10 reps.
After your weightlifting workout, do 6-8 sets of abdominal exercises of your choice. At the end of the movement you should be squeezing your abs to activate your abdominal muscles.
Try these top 10 abdominal exercises and some of my favorite and most challenging exercises found here. Currently, in my workout I am doing the: Medicine ball sit-up with chest press, Roman Twist with Medicine Ball, Vertical Leg Crunch.
I should warn you though; any exercise with Planks is a lot tougher than it looks. Try a variety of movements and see what you like best.
Shrink Belly Fat Step 4: Sleep
Sleep plays one of the most important roles in your physical and mental well-being. It is instrumental in the quality of your productivity, emotional balance, brain and heart health, creativity, and weight control.
Do you notice on days when you are sleep deprived you crave sugary foods? Sleep deprivation has a direct correlation to binge eating and weight gain.
Most Americans sleep on average 6.8 hours a night. It is recommended that most of us adults need 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
When you sleep your brain and body are working to rest, rebuild muscle, and your hormones are balanced to prevent overeating.
Sleep hygiene is instrumental to help you get more quality of sleep to get you fresh and energized for your work and workout. Put your phone away, make your room pitch black, and turn on the fan or humidifier for white noise to help you sleep.
Shrink Belly Fat Step 5: Discuss with your doctor your weight loss plans
Before starting any new exercise or diet plan, discuss this with your physician. For example, those with diabetes who use insulin should discuss changes in your insulin regiment and diet to avoid a hypoglycemia crisis.
Those with heart conditions will need to talk with their doctor so they do not strain themselves and get chest pain or develop a heart attack.
Always refer to your primary care doctor and consult before beginning any new changes in your diet or exercise plan.
If you are new to the gym consult with a personal trainer on how to safely weightlift or use an aerobic machine. With the right approach you can expect to lose about 1-2 pounds a week. Keep that consistent attitude and you will see your waistline slim!
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 counselling 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 Vixen Daily.
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