Besides being pretty unsexy, belly fat is also dangerous, raising the risk of hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes. Here’s how to start losing belly fat fast.
1. Lose belly fat by cutting out sugar
Eating sugar, especially refined sugars added to sweeten food and beverages, is a leading contributing factor to visceral fat. The glucose and fructose that come from sugar are simple carbohydrates that get quickly absorbed into the bloodstream and metabolized to release energy.
When there’s excess intake, they get converted to glycogen to be stored in fat tissue. Eating a lot of sugar also spikes your blood sugar, which triggers insulin to be released in large amounts, potentially leading to a condition called insulin resistance that’s associated with metabolic syndrome.
Cutting out all sweetened foods and drinks, including fruit juices, is one of the best things you can do today to lose belly fat fast. Learn to enjoy small amounts of natural sweeteners such as fresh fruit, raw honey, dates, and coconut crystals.
2. Lose belly fat by eating more protein
Protein is one macronutrient that can really help fight belly fat. When you eat more protein, it keeps you fuller longer and reduces the hunger hormone ghrelin, helping you slash the total calories you consume in a day.
High-protein meals, with 20 to 30 grams of protein each, can also help you burn more calories by raising the body’s metabolic rate. Eat up to three protein-rich meals a day to keep your appetite and cravings in check.
Good sources of protein include poultry, lean meat, eggs, fresh-caught fish and other seafood, cottage cheese, and yogurt. Include one or more of these in every meal. Say hello to a slimmer waistline with these 15 foods that actually flatten your belly.
3. Lose belly fat by adding more fiber
Getting more fiber into your diet, especially soluble fiber found in oats, chia seeds, legumes, vegetables, and fruits, can help reduce fat accumulation in the abdominal area. Psyllium husk is another great source of fiber—and has zero calories.
Fiber swells up with water, increasing the bulk of your stomach contents and giving you a feeling of fullness. It also reduces fat absorption from food by binding with bile acids required for the digestion of dietary fats.
Fiber can also bind with sugars and other carbohydrates, delaying or reducing their absorption into the bloodstream.
4. Lose belly fat by drinking tea
Drinking several cups of tea a day can help shrink your belly fat. Green tea is a great choice, but tea made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis, such as oolong tea and the unfermented white tea, are just as effective.
Catechins in the tea speed up metabolism and increase fat burning by stimulating the liver, especially when combined with exercise.
Other fat-burning teas are peppermint tea, which is known for its appetite suppressing effect, and Red Rooibos tea, which has a flavonoid called Aspalathin that lowers the kind of stress hormones that promote weight gain.
5. Lose belly fat by getting off the couch
Being sedentary is a major risk factor of metabolic syndrome, obesity, and diabetes. But every type of movement is helpful—even small gestures we make throughout the day, like tapping our toes or pacing while talking on the phone.
These moves, known as non-exercise activity thermogenesis or NEAT, can constitute as much as 50 percent of the total energy expenditure of a person who keeps busy throughout the day.
Simple things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator and taking a brisk walk on your lunch hour can help sizzle calories and reduce fat.
6. Lose belly fat by calming the mind
Yoga and meditation can aid fat loss, but not so much from the physical effect of the movements as from their calming and relaxing effect.
Several studies have linked high levels of the stress hormone cortisol to weight gain, particularly in the belly area. Practice yoga for at least 20 to 30 minutes a day for best results or start a daily meditation practice.
7. Lose belly fat with regular workouts
Regular exercise is key to weight loss and maintenance. And since there’s no consensus on whether the ideal workout is aerobic or resistance training, your best bet is to do a little of both.
Resistance training is especially important for people over 30, who will otherwise begin to lose bone density. Contrary to popular belief, abdominal crunches are not going to melt away belly fat, though they will help build muscle that could help define the area.
And since muscle mass has a higher resting metabolic rate and energy expenditure than fat, it could help you trim down. Mix up your workout routine with these exercises that flatten your belly—without a single crunch.
8. Lose belly fat by avoiding alcohol
It’s called a beer belly for a reason! Alcohol consumption has long been associated with abdominal obesity and can easily derail your fat-loss efforts.
Alcohol is not only high in calories, but it’s the body’s preferred fuel, so when you drink it, the other macronutrients in your food will be sent into storage (aka your belly, or possibly your thighs or butt).
Alcohol is also notorious for lowering your self-control and inhibitions, so you can easily end up eating and drinking too much.
9. Lose belly fat by getting a good night’s sleep
When you understand how lack of sleep contributes to obesity, you’ll realize how important it is to get good sleep every night.
Sleep regulates endocrine function, maintaining the right balance between the hunger hormone ghrelin and the satiety hormone leptin.
Sleep deprivation increases appetite, insulin resistance, and the stress hormone cortisol, all of which contribute to fat accumulation in the body.
Make sure that you get at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night.