During the Covid-19 quarantine, most people have seen multiple fluctuations in their weight. It’s completely understandable. After all, It's natural. We've all been through many changes and obstacles in the past two years. And, due to this, our bodies have changed too. In fact, according to the American Institute of Stress, there's a connection between weight gain, increases explicitly in belly fat, and spikes in the stress hormone cortisol.
From a healthcare perspective, belly fat is an ongoing issue for the American public. After all, no matter your body type, an increase in weight also increases your risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, and insulin resistance. In addition, accumulating belly fat also increases your risk of developing metabolic syndrome. These medical conditions lead to high cholesterol, blood sugar, high blood pressure, and a myriad of other diseases.
That said, figuring out how to get rid of belly fat is a more significant challenge for women than for men. Firstly, women typically have a higher body fat percentage than men. Not to mention, it's easy for women going through menopause to gain belly fat when hormone levels drop below the norm causing their metabolism to slow down.
Moreover, reducing belly fat is about planning your meals ahead of time or making minor changes to your daily diet by incorporating more whole foods. You also have to look at other 'bigger picture habits,' such as the amount of alcohol you drink and your ability to handle life's daily stressors that might lead to stress eating. With that in mind, let us look at the causes of belly fat and how to burn belly fat. So, without further ado, let's begin:
How to Get Rid of Belly Fat: Ways to Have a Trimmed Tummy
1. Ensure You're Eating Food Items Full of Healthy Fats, Fiber, and Protein
One of the top ways to get rid of belly fat is to reduce intake of food items containing refined sugars and carbohydrates. That said, it doesn't mean you should never touch the food items you enjoy. However, according to research published in the Journal of Nutrition, reducing carbohydrate intake can reduce tummy fat in no time. After all, when you consume fewer carbs, you'll compensate by adding more healthy fats and protein to your daily diet.
In addition to healthy fats and proteins, you should introduce more fiber into your meals.
Fiber is critical for GI regularity, chronic disease risk reduction, and weight management. Also, by eating more prebiotic fiber, you will fuel your body's own probiotics, which leads to an optimized GI tract over time.
Furthermore, eating a plant-based diet full of whole grains will help you lose belly fat than eating pasta and white bread. You can also consume lots of fermented foods like bananas, asparagus, kimchi, miso, tempeh, and artichokes for a flatter belly.
2. Reduce Alcohol Intake
If a six-pack of beers or a few glasses of wine is in your regular rotation during meals, it may be the time to ponder on your life's decisions. According to various studies, drinking too much alcohol can increase belly fat.
That said, it doesn't mean you should throw away all those expensive bottles of champagne you bought for Christmas or your wedding anniversary. According to numerous studies, it's all about keeping yourself in check and drinking as little as possible to keep fat levels in check. So, for instance, it would be wise to keep your alcohol intake to 2 drinks per day whether you're sipping on a beer, a cocktail, your favorite glass of wine, or any other alcoholic beverage.
3. Eat Frequent Meals
In order to keep your metabolism pumping, it would be best to keep eating every now and then. If you want to learn how to burn belly fat, a good practice is to eat between every three or four hours and avoid meal skipping, especially breakfast! Moreover, ensure that the snacks and meals you eat contain high amounts of fiber and protein. Doing so will allow you to remain satisfied for a longer time. So, now is the time to bust out those seeds and nuts.
That said, there's some conflicting research about whether eating more frequent, smaller meals allows you to lose belly fat. However, one thing is key to fat loss: consistency! Being consistent and regular with your meals will discourage you from overeating in the evening and keep you in a healthy routine that you can easily follow.
4. Increase Water Intake
If you want to learn how to get rid of belly fat, you need to improve your water intake. Drinking adequate amounts of water will always be critical for your overall health and well-being. While there's no direct connection between belly fat loss and water intake, staying hydrated helps you remain energized, alert, and on your feet. Furthermore, water also aids in digestion, body temperature regulation, and much more.
That said, there isn't a single, generalized "hydration goal" for everybody as everyone's weight and body type are different. However, for most people, drinking anywhere from 8 to 10 eight-ounce glasses of water per day will be sufficient to keep their metabolism going. If you're exercising, add at least 2 to 3 extra cups to your typical daily water intake. In addition, eating more water-filled vegetables and fruits can help you stay active and hydrated as well.
5. Plan Out Your Meals
Meal preparation is not always about keeping your meals organized. Instead, it also allows you to eat food items that will keep you full and provide your body with the macronutrients it needs to melt fat. However, if you're someone who doesn't want to eat the same thing every day, it's alright. You should identify a few meals you know you can make even when you're exhausted, stressed, or tired, then stock your fridge and pantry with the ingredients for these dishes so you can remain consistent with your meals.
Don't have the patience to be so disciplined with your snacks and meals?! Don't worry, as you don't have to plan out every meal you want to eat! Instead, try to avoid hidden sources of sugar, such as sugary beverages like pre-made smoothies, pasta sauces, and salad dressings. Doing this will help you to burn belly fat sooner rather than later!
6. Exercise Regularly and Work On Your Sleeping Routine
At the end of the day, figuring out how to get rid of belly fat is not pnly about making the right dietary choices. It also involves working out regularly, especially if you've been inactive for some time. However, that doesn't mean you only do a couple of ab exercises such as ab crunches or sit-ups for reducing belly fat and then forget about the whole thing. It doesn't work that way. Like eating, exercising consistently is the best practice.
So, identify something that works for you, even if you have to do the same daily exercise regimen. Strength training and cardiovascular training are critical to reducing overall body fat and helping you lose belly fat. You might want to start with that.
Furthermore, sleep is also of the utmost importance for reducing body fat, lowering the risk of heart disease. In fact, changes in sleep patterns lead to hormonal shifts. Therefore, slowly increasing your activity level through a combination of cardio weight training will allow you to improve your sleep quality, help you burn more energy while at rest, and build a lean body in the process.
7. Learn to Manage Your Stress To Avoid Stress Eating
Did you know that stress eating is something that every human suffers from at least once in their lifetime? Apparently, it is a known fact according to studies. However, managing stress can lead to better management of weight and can help you in your journey as you learn the dos and don’ts of how to burn belly fat.
In fact, stress hormones, such as cortisol, may contribute to an increase in belly fat, especially in women. When cortisol levels spike, a person may experience mood swings, anxiety, weight gain, brain fog, muscle weakness, fatigue, and sleep disturbance. However, you can easily manage stress by eating a balanced diet, sleeping regularly, exercising, and committing to self-care practices such as meditation, yoga, and journaling. These habits can also help you lose belly fat.
8. Practice Mindful Eating
While having a meal prep mindset is an excellent way to get rid of belly fat, you can take things to the next level by tracking what you're putting inside your mouth. Such an approach will undoubtedly help as you try to figure out how to get rid of belly fat in no time. That's because mindful eating is all about listening to your stomach and making healthy eating choices more often than not.
In addition, mindful eating will help you decrease stress levels and, in turn, stress-eating. So, start by taking a few deep breaths before you have your first meal, eat slowly, and avoid distractions. Doing so will help you understand how your body reacts when eating something. The primary aim of mindful eating is not trimming fat or weight loss, but is a healthier way to enjoy your daily meals.
Benefits of Learning How to Burn Belly Fat
Most of us would love to see ourselves in the mirror and enjoy looking at a perfectly defined midsection. And although that is a realistic, achievable goal, the more significant thing to worry about here is belly fat, which is a serious issue and can cause severe health problems in the long run.
Typically, belly fat is described as "visceral" fat present deep inside your body and under the skin (subcutaneous fat). It is the type of fat you cannot pinch with your fingers.
Instead, it lies below your abdominal wall, covering your organs and releasing hormones and chemicals that can cause inflammation. Inflammation resulting from fat can increase your chances of everything from cancer to diabetes to heart disease. With that being said, let us look at a few benefits of trying to lose belly fat.
1. You'll Experience Controlled Blood Sugar Levels
One out of three persons in the United States suffers from prediabetes. It is a medical condition where blood sugar levels are not yet high enough to be called diabetes but high enough to be a health risk. That said, 90 percent of prediabetics don't know they suffer from it. However, being overweight is one of the most significant risk factors for prediabetes.
Furthermore, excess belly fat can lead to insulin resistance. Since insulin regulates sugar levels in our blood, the higher your insulin resistance, the more sugar builds up in the bloodstream. However, insulin resistance decreases when you learn how to get rid of belly fat, allowing blood glucose levels to stay regulated.
2. You'll Experience Controlled Blood Pressure and a Lower Risk of Heart Disease
According to researchers, something as little as five percent of overall weight loss improves overall metabolic function and reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition, other studies show that belly fat is the main culprit for the increased risk of heart disease, and that losing overall weight and belly fat can also control your blood pressure. After all, the presence of fatty tissue around your belly and other body parts makes your heart work overtime to pump more blood throughout your body.
Furthermore, excess fat can also increase your body's inflammatory hormones and raise cholesterol, triglycerides, and homocysteine levels- all that are independent risk factors for heart disease. Therefore, reducing belly fat and overall body weight will help prevent or manage cardiovascular disease in obese and overweight people.
3. Your Risk of Developing Arthritis Will Drastically Decrease
It is not a surprise to learn that carrying around a bulging midsection can unnecessarily strain your joints. In fact, Excessive weight around the tummy can then lead to arthritis. However, losing as little as 5 pounds of belly fat actually reduces the pressure on your knees by 20 pounds.
Furthermore, as mentioned before, belly fat may also lead to chronic inflammation, making your arthritis worse. It is typically the result of inflammatory compounds released by fatty tissue around your midsection, increasing the risk of arthritis development. That said, fewer pro-inflammatory markers are produced after you lose belly fat, reducing the chances of arthritis development tenfold!
4. Your Mood Will Improve
Although this might be a sort of chicken-or-egg situation, research shows that reducing belly fat lowers depressive symptoms and improves your overall mood. This is the case because the lifestyle changes that lead to belly fat, like stress reduction and exercise, or the fat loss itself, can improve your confidence and boost your mood.
Furthermore, working out releases the feel-good hormone Dopamine, which helps keep depression away. Besides working out, looking good will also give your self-esteem levels a welcome boost. In addition, improved sleep and the regulation of hormones can lead to a better sense of well-being that is typically associated with fat reduction.
5. Your Sleep Quality Will Improve
You might say that your belly size doesn't affect how well you sleep at night. However, according to a Johns Hopkins study, reducing belly fat improves your sleep quality, judged by levels of restless sleep, insomnia, daytime fatigue, and various other factors.
Being overweight or obese can also lead to a severe condition known as sleep apnea. It is caused when the tissues around your throat inflame and obstruct breathing. When you learn how to burn belly fat and your overall body fat, it reduces sleep apnea and snoring, generally improving your sleep quality.
6. You'll Have a Healthier Liver
Fat affects how your liver, your natural "detox" system, functions. Belly fat can cause lipotoxicity, disrupting your bodies' essential functions. During lipotoxicity, metabolic byproducts resulting in fat cells are released into our bloodstreams, harming us in ways we don’t even know about.
There is no doubt that our livers and other organs are not designed to accumulate fat. In fact, too much fatty acid accumulation in the liver can usually lead to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. In addition, inflammation caused by this disease from the fatty liver could lead to liver scarring or cirrhosis. Therefore reducing belly fat is a sure-fire way to protect your liver from harmful diseases, ensuring proper blood detoxification.
7. You'll Have Better Sexual Health
Being obese may result in abnormal menstrual cycles due to the accumulation of excess fat. These extra fat levels can release large amounts of estrogen, leading to hormone imbalances. Furthermore, hormone disruptions caused by fat are the main reason obese and overweight women have irregular periods.
Such a thing plays a crucial role in lowering fertility in women. After all, the hormones that regulate our food [such as insulin] are intertwined with our sex hormones. So, although weight is not the only reason for infertility, it's something most women can prevent with regular exercise and diet.
How Much Belly Fat Is Unhealthy?
So, how can you identify if your midsection is more prominent than it should be? For instance, a waistline larger than 102 centimeters or 40 inches puts men at a higher risk of fat-related disease and complications. On the other hand, women with a waist of 89 centimeters or 35 inches or more should trim the fat around their gut.
Asian people have slightly different waistline stats: under 31 for women and under 35 inches for men. Furthermore, if you have a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or greater (23 for Asians), you are overweight. Similarly, a BMI of 30 or higher states that you're obese.
Every pound of belly fat you lose will drastically reduce your risk of developing various diseases. However, aiming to reduce your waist below the recommended measurements is the most effective way to reduce the risk of certain cancers, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
In a Nutshell: Reducing Belly Fat Can Lead to Positive Health Outcomes
We hope this guide proved useful in learning how to get rid of belly fat.
Trying to lose belly fat can create lasting outcomes that help you lead a healthier lifestyle. Reducing belly fat also offers numerous benefits that can help you feel good about yourself and make better choices.
In the end, figuring out how to burn belly fat requires a two-pronged approach consisting of cardiovascular and weight training along with a low-calorie diet low in sugar and carbohydrates and high in fiber and protein.
So, if you are willing to put in the effort and get down and dirty, you can move past genetics and lose belly fat!