Belly fat is more than just a nuisance that makes our clothes feel tighter, the fat inside our belly area, known as visceral fat is seriously harmful. This type of fat is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other health related illnesses.
Although losing fat in this area can be difficult, there are several things you can do to reduce excess tummy fat which will not only make you look and feel better, it will also improve your overall health!
Let me share some of these points with you.
Eat plenty of soluble fibre. Soluble fibre absorbs water and forms a gel that helps slow down food as it passes through your digestive system. Studies have shown that this type of fibre promotes weight loss by helping you feel full, so you naturally eat less.
Avoid foods that contain trans fats. Trans fats are created by pumping hydrogen into unsaturated fats. These fats are linked to inflammation, heart disease, insulin resistance and abdominal fat gain. When looking at food labels stay away from foods that have “partially hydrogenated” fats listed.
Don’t drink too much alcohol. In small amounts alcohol can be fine, however if we drink too much it can be seriously harmful. Increased alcohol consumption will significantly increase risk of obesity, meaning excess fat storage around the waist. Not only will it pack on weight, increased alcohol consumption can cause liver and kidney disease.
Eat a high protein diet. Protein is an extremely important nutrient for weight control. High protein intake releases the fullness hormone which decreases appetite. Protein can also raise metabolic rate and will help you retain muscle mass during weight loss. Be sure to include a good protein source in every meal, such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy and whey.
Reduce your stress levels. Stress can make you gain belly fat by triggering the adrenal gland to produce cortisol – a stress hormone. High levels of cortisol will increase appetite and increase fat storage. To reduce cortisol, engage in activities that relieve stress, such as going to the gym, yoga, or going for a walk.
Reduce your sugary food intake. Sugar contains fructose, which as has been linked to several chronic diseases when consumed in excess including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and liver damage. It is important to realise that more than just refined sugar gain lead to fat gain, so even “healthy” sugar such as honey should be used sparingly.
Do aerobic exercise (cardio). Aerobic exercise is an effective way to improve health and burn calories. There are mixed opinions as to whether moderate or high intensity are more beneficial, however, the most important part is that you do some form of cardiovascular exercise frequently. Aim for at least 150 minutes a week.
Cut back on refined carbs. Reducing refined carbs can be very beneficial for losing fat. You don’t need to follow a strict low carb diet or no carb diet, simply replace refined carbs with unprocessed starchy carbs and this may improve metabolic health and reduce belly fat.
Perform resistance training (lift weights). Resistance training or strength training is important for preserving and gaining muscle mass. Resistance training promotes more lean muscle mass, this will speed up your metabolism, meaning more weight loss. It you decide to start lifting weights, it’s a good idea to get advice from a Personal Trainer.
Avoid sugar sweetened beverages. These are loaded with liquid fructose which can make you gain belly fat. Sugary drinks appear to be worse than high sugar foods as the brain doesn’t process them the same way as it does solid ones. To lose belly fat its best to completely avoid sugar sweetened beverages and mixers.
Track your exercise and food intake. Many things can help you lose weight and fat, but consuming fewer calories than your body needs is the key. Weight loss is very simple – Calories in versus calories out! Keeping a food diary or using a tracker can help you monitor this. My most successful clients do this and have seen some amazing results. Also pay particular attention to protein, carbs and fats macro splits.
Change your lifestyle and combine different methods. If you do what you’ve always done you get what you’ve always got. If you want good results, then you need to combine different methods that have been shown to be effective. Changing your lifestyle needs to be a long-term thing and is key to losing belly fat and keeping it off.
When you have healthy habits and eat real food, fat loss tends to follow as a natural side effect.
For more information on creating a fitness plan that works for you, or if you need some help and support with transforming your lifestyle please feel free to contact us firstname.lastname@example.org to book in for a FREE lifestyle consultation and taster session. Start the process today, it’s never too late to start.