Losing belly fat is not a day or a week or a month play.
It is something you have not gained in a week, so you can’t expect it to disappear in such a short time.
Let us first understand what exactly is this belly fat and then we will guide you on how to get rid of this belly fat fast.
What is Belly Fat?
Fat under our skin is not a big issue. It’s the fat in the abdominal cavity which is harmful to our body. This fat is known as Belly fat.
We all have some amount of belly fat. People with flat abs also have it. But, an excess amount of Belly fat is bad for our health.
In our body, Fat is present under the skin and also in our body organs like the heart, liver, lungs, pancreas, intestines. Fat present deep inside our body organs is called visceral fat.
Even if you are thin, you can have a large amount of visceral fat.
Some visceral fat is needed for providing a cushion to the organs. But, surplus visceral fat in our body organs becomes the cause of heart disease, metabolic syndrome, sleep disorders, sexual dysfunction, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and colon cancer.
Other than visceral fat, our body contains Triglycerides & Subcutaneous fats. These fats are not as bad as visceral fat.
Triglyceride is 95% of the fat in our body. It circulates in our bloodstream.
Subcutaneous fat is the thin layer of fat between our skin and abdominal wall.
How is Belly fat formed in our body?
Sugar & Beverages
We all intake sugar every day in almost every food we eat, but we hardly realize.
Sugar contains an equal amount of Glucose and Fructose. All the fructose in our body is metabolized by the liver.
When we intake excess of fructose in our body, our liver gets overloaded and left with no option but to convert excess fructose into Fat.
The worst form of sugar we intake is Liquid Sugar. Our brain does not register liquid calories as it does for solid food.
Sugar or foods which contain high sugar are the cause of Type 2 diabetes and Fatty liver disease.
When you become less active
If you are a good eater or a foodie, but are lazy, less active, not performing physical activities like a morning walk, running and some basic exercises, then it will lead to the formation of Belly Fat.
When you Overeat
Eating too much is the main cause of gaining excess weight. If you eat too much and posses a sedentary lifestyle, then it will result in the formation of belly fat in your body.
Stress and Hypertension
Cortisol level in the blood increases due to high stress which ultimately leads to accumulation of fats in the body.
There is an increased risk of fat accumulation around the waist in women when they progress towards their middle age. During menopause, levels of estrogen go down & levels of androgens (male hormones) increases which increases the fat accumulation ratio as compared to body weight.
Accumulation of fat in our body also depends on our genes. We may possess the belly fat similar to our parents and grandparents.
Weak and slow metabolism can cause accumulation of belly fat. With our age, metabolism in our body becomes slower. Also, women develop belly fat faster than men due to weaker metabolism.
How to calculate belly fat?
The most precise way to calculate Belly fat or mainly the visceral fat is CT scan or MRI.
The other simpler and cheaper way is WHR Waist-to-hip ratio.
Waist-to-hip ratio is an easy and quick way to find out whether you have an excess amount of belly fat or not. It can also check if you are at higher risk.
In WHR, mainly there is two type of body shapes ‘Apple shape’ & ‘Pear shape’.
In ‘Apple shape’ you carry most of the fat around your waist and have a more Waist-to-hip ratio. Also, Apple shapes carry more belly fat as compare to Pear shape.
While in ‘Pear shape’, most of the weight or you can say fat is in the lower body. It has a less waist-to-hip ratio.
The waist-to-hip ratio measures the ratio of your waist circumference to the ration of your hip circumference.
WHR = Circum. Of waist/ Circum. Of Hip
As per WHO, a healthy WHR for men is less or equals to 0.9 and for women is less or equals 0.85.
Why is Belly Fat harmful to our body?
The fat is an active part of our body. Excess fat always makes dirty or unwanted substances inside the body which is harmful.
If you have gained too much of weight such that your regular areas which stores fats are full, then the fat will start depositing into organs. In that case, the heart will get surrounded by unwanted fat.
How to get rid of belly fat?
1. What to eat?
Eat High Protein
Protein is very very important for losing stomach fat. It reduces our cravings and boosts metabolism. When we intake high protein or eat more protein-rich diet on a daily basis, it releases fullness hormone PYY which in turn decrease our appetite and makes our tummy full.
Some studies have also revealed that people eating more and good quality protein have less belly fat.
Most of us are aware of the fact that protein is the key reason for muscle gain. During the process of losing weight, proteins help us to retain muscle mass.
Protein is extremely effective against belly fat accumulation.
A man and woman carrying a sedentary lifestyle need 56 gm & 46 gm of protein per day.
If you are struggling to identify high protein foods, let us help you here. Following are the easier & cheaper protein foods:
1. Whey protein, 24 gm/30 gm serving.
2. Canned Tuna which contains 40 gm protein/can.
3. Whole Eggs, contains 7 gm protein/egg.
4. Milk contains 30 gm protein/ litre.
5. Frozen chicken breast, 25 gm protein/100 gm.
Rich Fiber food / Soluble fibre
Fibre plays an important role in our good health. It also controls our weight. Fibre which is soluble, fermentable, and viscous are extremely healthy for our body.
Mainly soluble & viscous fibre forms a thick gel after getting bound with water. Due to this gel formation, the movement of food through our stomach slows down the digestion and absorption of nutrients. Which in turns gives us a feeling of fullness and our appetite reduces.
Few sources of these fibres are vegetables, avocados, oats, chia seeds, nuts, legumes, etc.
Whereas, if you are eating whole plant foods in your diet, then your fibre intake will be taken care.
Eat Fatty Fish
Fatty Fish is a good option for non-vegetarians. It’s a direct source of high-quality protein and Omega-3 fats which reduces visceral fat or we can say abdominal fat.
Salmon, Mackerel, Sardines are few best options.
Use Coconut oil instead of cooking fats
Coconut oil is a source of healthy fat or we can say pure fat. Saturated fat in coconut oil mainly consists of medium chain fatty acids, whereas other or animal-based saturated fat sources consists of long-chain fatty acids.
Coconut oil or medium chain fatty acids increase metabolism and burn more calories as compared to other fat sources. It also reduces appetite.
Always use Virgin coconut oil, not hydrogenated coconut oil as it contains trans fat which increases cholesterol level.
It is the best idea to replace some of your cooking fats with coconut oil. 30 grams which are 2 tablespoons is the minimum you can take daily.
Some other healthy fat sources are – olive oil, avocados, and nuts.
Take Probiotic foods
Probiotics are bacteria or we can say living microbes present in supplements and fermented foods.
It also let our body absorbs fewer amounts of calories from the food we eat. It reduces inflammation in the stomach.
These bacteria support microbes in our intestines for good digestion and increased immunity. It also strengthens the body’s ability to burn fat. Probiotic food reduces both body and lower belly fat.
Among all, ‘Lactobacillus Gasseri’ bacteria have the most promising effects on weight loss.
Certain probiotics may lead to weight gain instead of weight loss. ‘Lactobacillus acidophilus’ is one such bacteria.
Drink Green tea
Green tea undoubtedly is the healthiest drink to lose weight. Green tea contains catechins which prevent accumulation of fat, caffeine which helps in burning both calories and fat. It boosts metabolism and reduces appetite.
Green tea can really help you in losing fat, especially abdomen fat. However, it is not a replacement for a healthy diet and daily exercise.
A healthy diet with good 45 – 75 minutes of exercise and 2-3 cups of green tea can do wonders for you in 8 weeks.
2. What not to eat?
Sugar & Beverages
Added sugar is unhealthy.
Sugar is a form of carbohydrate with zero nutritional value. It is a source of glucose and fructose.
We all understand the fact that glucose is a source of energy for our body cells. If you do not get in our diet, our body is also capable of producing it.
Fructose is not produced by our body. It is not used by any cell except the liver cells.
Fructose is responsible for:
– Insulin resistance which in turns increases fat deposition in fat cells.
– Resistance to hormone ‘leptin’ due to which brain oversee the increased fat level. This leads to an increase in food intake.
Liquid sugar like unsweetened juices, sports beverage, soda, and lemonade are high calories sources. It increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases and affects your overall health.
Cut Carbs from your diet
We don’t realize but we eat carbs way more than it is required.
When we eat too many carbohydrates which are not needed by our body, the excess calories get converted to triglycerides and ultimately reach to our fat cells for storage.
When you replace your refined carbs diet (white bread, potato chips, rice, cookies, refined wheat) with fibre-rich carbs diet (vegetables, oranges, strawberries, grapefruits, peaches, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts), then you start to lose tummy fat.
Avoid food that contains Trans fat
Trans fat is the only fat you must avoid. It is an artificial fat made by pumping hydrogen in unsaturated fats/liquid oil/soya bean oil. It is present in packaged baked foods, snacks, and fried fasts food.
Trans fat gives you 33% more abdominal fat as compared to pure fat. It increases bad cholesterol.
It is directly responsible for inflammation in the stomach, heart diseases, and increase in abdominal fat.
Don’t drink too much alcohol
High alcohol intake is very harmful as it leads to liver diseases and other severe health issues. It also causes inflammation in the stomach. When we drink alcohol in excess, it suppresses our fat burning capacity. Then, excess calories from alcohol partly become abdominal fat.
Don’t think about losing your stomach fat, if you are not going to reduce your alcohol consumption.
Best would be once a week and a maximum of 2 drinks. That’s it.
Don’t drink fruit juice
Packed fruit juice or sports drinks contains high sugar and sweeteners.
Drinks mentioned as ‘100% without sweeteners drinks’ also contains a lot of sugar. Fructose in sugar is responsible for belly fat accumulation.
Take only fresh fruits or whole fruits. They are healthy and fibre-rich.
3. What exercises to do?
Brisk Walking or Jogging
Best cardio exercise for beginners. Most of us think that walking can help us in increasing metabolism & reduce fat. NO. It’s brisk walking which actually creates an impact.
If you are fit enough, prefer a jog over a brisk walk. You should be breathing harder, sweating enough and your heart rate becomes faster than the normal.
If you are aiming to burn stomach fat, then 45-60 minutes daily brisk walk or a jog is a must.
Running can really do wonders. People who don’t do any other cardio exercise but do running daily are mostly found the fit. It can control your lower belly fat in a miraculous way.
When you run – your heart rate goes up, you burn a lot of calories, and you lose fat on your stomach.
Running takes half the time to reduce belly fat as compared to brisk walk and jogging.
Swimming is the best exercise which gives you benefits of cardio. It tones your body and makes you lose weight fast.
3-4 times a week, Swimming can give you best results.
Run on an incline
Running on an incline is not specifically for losing belly fat. It doesn’t really matter whether you run on a hill or on a treadmill.
When you run on an incline, your heart rate increases as you pace up.
Studies suggest that a jog plus run on an incline for minimum 45 minutes gives you 50% more results than the same done on a flat surface.
High-intensity interval training
HIIT is preferred over normal cardio exercises for reducing abdominal fat. It also increases our body endurance and strengthens our core muscles.
HIIT is one of the best ways to get rid of stubborn belly fat.
It’s 15-20 minutes of non-stop workout training without any equipment.
Step-1: Do non-stop reps of an exercise for 30 seconds.
Step-2: Take 15 seconds rest.
Step-3: Do the next exercise for 30 seconds and then take 15 seconds rest.
Step-4: Once you are done with the 5th exercise, you completed Round-1.
Step-5: Repeat 3 times.
You can pick any 5 exercises to workout. For example – Push up, Burpees, Mountain climbers, Jumping Jacks, Lunge jumps, etc.
Lift heavy weights or strength training
Strength training helps in muscle gain and burns fat. Lifting weights will help to build your muscles from head to toe. It will strengthen your Abs, reduce tummy fat fast, and reduce your waist size.
The additional benefit of strength training is you will burn more calories, your diet will improve, and you will get into shape faster.
4. What exercises not to do?
Stop doing Crunches, Abs exercises don’t help much in the reduction of belly fat. It can only strengthen your stomach muscles.
‘Spot reduction’ is a concept where it says – you can lose fat in one part by exercising that particular part of your body.
But, studies suggest that it is not true in the case of belly fat. It’s a very simple thing to understand. When we do muscle exercises, our muscle cell uses fat. The fat needed in muscles comes from any part of the body as it comes into the bloodstream after it gets broken.
It is not necessary that the fat will come only from the body part which is being exercised.
It is better to not drain our energy by doing crunches and different Abs exercises.
We can perform more apt exercises mentioned above, which can speed up metabolism and help our body to burn more calories and belly fat.
5. What other measures to take?
Reduce your Stress levels
Stress is directly related to the accumulation of fat in the abdomen area. It triggers our adrenal glands to produce cortisol hormone, also known as the stress hormone.
High cortisol level in our body increases appetite which causes weight gain. Instead of storing fat all over the body, it stores fat in the abdominal region.
This is particularly observed in women with high waist-to-hip ratios. Meditation, yoga, relaxing with your friends, and the most important one is exercising are a few things you can include in your daily schedule to avoid stress.
Exercising will give you immediate results as it hits on your belly fat & stress both.
Get Enough sleep
Not getting enough sleep is not the main reason for belly fat. But, it is one of the reasons.
Few studies have suggested, people who sleep for 5 hours or less per night & 8 hours or more per night have gained more belly fat/visceral fat as compared to the people who sleep for 7 hours.
6-7 hours of sleep is a healthy sleep.
You have been shown all the possible methods needed to lose belly fat.
Losing belly fat is 80% of controlling what-to-eat and 20% of doing regular exercise.
We feel it’s about eating healthy.
All the precautions, exercises, foods to eat, not-to-eat stuff is helpful in setting up a healthy lifestyle and eventually, it will lead to losing the stubborn abdominal fat very fast.
Make it a way of life!