How to Lose Belly Fat
With all the gimmicks and infomercials, getting rid of pesky belly fat seems to be on everyone’s mind these days. Contrary to what many of these products seem to imply, there really is no “magic bullet” or diet program that’s going to specifically target excess stomach fat.
The first step in dropping the extra baggage is to change your diet. Without restricting your calorie intake, you’re never going to lose belly fat. There are some tactics that can help speed the process along, but only in conjunction with a reduced calorie diet. Whether your goal is to get a six pack or just lose stomach fat, learning how to lose belly fat is the first step to succeeding!
Here are some tips to help you lose belly fat:
- Eliminate refined grains from your diet. Research has shown that people who eat whole grains lose more belly fat than those who consume refined grains. A diet rich in whole grains alters the insulin and glucose response in your body. This in turn, hastens fat burning and the first fat to go is the visceral fat, which is good news for your health. Visceral fat is the one doctors are warning us about, this is the fat that lies deep within the abdomen and is responsible for the adverse health affects associated with belly fat. On the other hand, subcutaneous fat is the fat that lies just beneath the surface of the skin; the fat you can grab. Subcutaneous fat may be unsightly, but it doesn’t pose the same health risks as visceral fat.
- Research suggests that a diet containing monounsaturated fat, like that found in seeds, nuts, avocados, soybeans and even dark chocolate, can prevent the accumulation of both visceral and subcutaneous fat. Whether it’s the specific monounsaturated fats or the result of the lower calorie diet often associated with the use of these fats remains unclear. The one thing that is clear, anyone will likely lose weight on a lower calorie diet and belly fat is usually the first thing they’ll lose.
- Avoid foods made with trans fats, or trans fatty acids. This would include margarine, crackers, cookies, most processed foods and anything else made with hydrogenated oils. Foods containing trans fats encourage the accumulation of belly fat, so try to eliminate these as much as possible.
- Eating more soluble fiber (oats, cherries, apples) helps lower insulin levels, which can reduce the presence of the stress hormone cortisol. Reducing cortisol is important because the body burns fewer calories when it’s under stress. Cortisol also lowers the body’s ability to release fat from the fat stores it uses for energy and causes more fat to be stored in the abdominal region – exactly what we’re trying to avoid!
- MUFAs or Mono Unsaturated Fatty Acids, help burn more belly fat. Some foods with high MUFA’s include:
- Canola oil
- Olive oil
- Grape seed oil
- Soybean oil
- Seeds and nuts
- Dark Chocolate
- Aerobic exercise will help you lose fat all over our body, including belly fat. You can’t target specific areas to burn fat, but belly fat is usually the first to go, regardless of your body type. Aerobic, fat burning exercise is essential if you want to lose belly fat. The important thing to focus on is exercise that burns calories, rather than crunches or sit-ups. Strengthening the abdominal muscles is great, but it doesn’t get rid of the fat that’s covering them. If you’re looking for a flat stomach, aerobic exercise is the answer. Once the belly fat is gone, your toned new abs will be able to show through. As an added benefit, exercise helps reduce stress and insulin levels, which in turn lowers the presence of cortisol that leads to more belly fat as we discussed above.
There are many things that are beyond our control, such as the way our body distributes fat. This is often determined by heredity, body type and factors such as menopause or illness. What is in our control is how much overall body fat we accumulate – if you keep your body fat low, it won’t matter where your body tends to store it, there won’t be much to deposit in the first place.
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