Exercise alone isn’t the key to weight loss. You can shed stubborn belly fat by paying attention to what you eat, when you eat and the sort of exercise you engage in.
Intermittent fasting or scheduling the eating to a narrow window of time on a daily basis should be practiced by those having excess body weight and suffering from insulin resistance.
Moreover, you should also regulate your stress and get restorative sleep because this helps keep your levels of cortisol low. Namely, cortisol is a stress hormone, which can deplete lean muscle and hold on to fat in your abdominal area, when increased.
Keep in mind that the benefits of decreasing belly fat are far more important than aesthetics. Specifically, visceral fat, also known as abdominal fat, which deposits around your internal organs, could release hormones and proteins that contribute to inflammation. This may damage your arteries and penetrate your liver, thus interfering with your body’s ability to break down fats and sugars.
The chronic inflammation related to visceral fat build-up can contribute to various systemic diseases connected to metabolic syndrome.
These systematic diseases include strokes, heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and many other chronic diseases. As a result of this, measuring your waist-to-hip ratio can more accurately show your health status compared to your BMI (body mass index.)
The Following 3 Dietary Changes Can Help You Shed Abdominal Fat:
You should decrease your total body fat in order to get rid of abdominal fat. It is impossible to target only one area for shedding fat. In addition, diet plays a vital role in getting rid of belly fat, since poor diet can lead to fat build-up as well as cause your body to hold on to excess fat.
When it comes to healthy food choices, these 3 are the key to effective weight loss:
– Eat more healthy fats. If you follow a diet low in healthy fats, then you actually sabotage your weight loss goals. You can get rid of abdominal fat by consuming more healthy fats.
If you suffer from insulin resistance, you will benefit from 50-85% of your total daily calories in the form of healthy fats until your insulin resistance fixes.
Foods high in healthy fats include animal-based omega-3 fats; grass-fed meats; raw nuts; unheated organic nut oils; raw, organic coconut oil and coconuts; organic pastured egg yolks; raw dairy; butter made from raw grass-fed milk; and avocados.
Many studies have shown that monounsaturated fats present in avocadoes, nuts, and olive oil stimulated abdominal fat loss.
A study included women who followed a 1,600-calorie, high-monounsaturated fat diet. The participants lost 1/3 of their belly fat within a period of 30 days.
– Minimize or exclude added sugar from your daily diet. You should exclude all types of fructose and sugar, (refined or “all-natural” sugars, including low-quality honey, agave or all grains) since they can break down to sugar within your system.
Keep in mind that processed fructose, including high fructose corn syrup, is the worst of all sugars when it comes to triggering metabolic dysfunction. As your body metabolizes it in the same manner as alcohol, it can lead to fat build-up and insulin resistance to a higher level compared to other forms of sugar.
It is a well-known fact that processed fructose is present in almost all sweetened beverages and processed foods, where it hides under about 60 different names. Therefore, replace processed foods with whole, organic vegetables and fruits.
In case you have excess abdominal fat and suffer from insulin resistance, you should keep your total intake of fructose/sugar below 15g daily. In case you have normal weight and you do not suffer from insulin resistance, you should keep your total intake of fructose/sugar below 25g daily.
– Do intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is among the most potent ways to promote weight loss because it helps reset your body to utilize fat as its primary fuel instead of sugar.
The intermittent fasting we suggest for those suffering from insulin resistance is restricting the eating to an 8-hour window of time on a daily basis.
If you suffer from insulin resistance, you may want to restrict your eating to 11am and 7pm. Furthermore, this intermittent fasting equates to a daily fasting of about 16 hours, i.e., twice the minimum necessary to deplete your glycogen stores as well as begin to shift into fat burning mode.
Healthy fats allow you to keep going without experiencing the severe energy crashes related to sugar. Additionally, in case you are not hungry, or not having a meal for several hours is not a problem, you should follow this eating schedule until your weight normalizes, your leptin/insulin resistance enhances, and your blood sugar and blood pressure resolve. Then, simply do it as needed in order to reverse insulin resistance and improve your overall health.
Eat These Foods to Get Rid of Abdominal Fat
An author of the book, Zero Belly Diet, David Zinczenko, explains that you should eat certain foods that help get rid of belly fat by turning off your fat storage genes, reducing inflammation, and removing bloat.
Zinczenko put together a panel to test-drive the Zero Belly program in 2014. The results showed that the average person lost about 4 inches off their waist for 6 weeks. According to Zinczenko, this program is very effective as a result of a scientifically proven eating program that addresses your fat genes. This program actually turns off your fat genes and promotes weight loss. This program works in the following 3 ways:
- It lowers bloating by eliminating dairy, salt, and artificial sweeteners. Many of the participants lost about 3 inches of bloat off their waist within a week.
- It helps heal the gut by feeding the beneficial bacteria in the gut. A balanced gut helps decrease inflammation and turn off the fat genes.
- It also turbocharges the metabolism with high-quality fiber, protein, and healthy fats.
Zinczenko suggests consuming the following foods: plant-based smoothies rich in resveratrol, fiber, healthy fat, and protein; free-range or organic, pastured eggs; olive oil, red fruits, and other healthy fats; foods high in fiber; seeds and nuts; organic, grass-fed meat; brightly-colored and leafy green vegetables, along with lots of fresh spices and herbs.
He explains that keeping your gut flora healthy is vital because imbalances can have a dramatic effect on your weight. Studies have found that harmful bacteria present in the gut led to weight gain and insulin resistance by causing chronic low-grade inflammation in the body. In addition, food sterilization, processing, and pasteurization can also have a negative impact on your microbiome. Therefore, you should follow a diet high in whole, unprocessed foods and fermented foods.
These Things Can Interfere with Abdominal Fat Reduction
Following a diet abundant in processed foods, added sugars and fructose as well as having meals too often could be some of the main culprits of belly fat.
That’s not all, many other lifestyle factors could result in the problem. This means that not only you should correct your diet and introduce a fasting regimen, but you should also address these factors in order to shed abdominal fat:
– Consuming Too Much Alcohol, Including Beer: Drinking alcohol of all types helps contribute to weight gain. Therefore, you should decrease the amount of alcohol you drink. Also, beer can also increase your uric acid levels, thus contributing to chronic inflammation.
– Drinking Too Much Diet Soda: Believe it or not, the consumption of diet soda has been found to double your likelihood of obesity than the consumption of regular soda. That’s not all, it has also been found that the consumption of diet soda could significantly elevate your possibility of weight gain compared to the consumption of regular soda. So, in case you want to lose weight, exclude all sweetened beverages, such as artificially sweetened ones from your diet and drink plenty of pure water instead.
– Magnesium Deficiency: It is a well-known fact that magnesium is an essential mineral used by each body organ, particularly your muscles, kidneys, and heart. The most common symptoms of magnesium deficiency include muscle spasms, unexplained weakness or fatigue, eye twitches, abnormal heart rhythms, and more. Studies have shown that those who take higher magnesium levels are more likely to have lower insulin and blood sugar levels.
In addition, foods rich in magnesium include green leafy veggies (Swiss chard and spinach); avocados; beans; seaweed; and seeds and nuts (sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.) Plus, juicing your veggies is an incredible option to ensure you are increasing your magnesium levels and reversing this mineral deficiency.
– Chronic Stress: High levels of stress can keep your stress hormones raised, thus interfering with your weight loss efforts. As a result of this, you should try to reduce your stress levels by practicing some stress-management techniques. Furthermore, this can effectively reduce your stress levels, thus lowering your cortisol and blood pressure levels.
Keep in mind that you should practice the stress management techniques that work for you every single day for maximum benefits. These techniques include emotional freedom techniques, listening to music, spending enough time in nature, yoga, mindfulness training, meditation, and exercise.
– Physical Inactivity: You can maximize your weight loss results by incorporating some type of high intensity interval training into your routine. Moreover, this form of exercise helps enhance muscle energy expenditure and utilization as a result of its beneficial impact on elevating muscle mass and enhancing muscle fiber quality. In fact, muscle tissue can burn 3-5 times more energy compared to fat tissues. Therefore, if you gain muscle, then it will elevate your metabolic rate, thus causing your body to burn much more calories, even when you are sleeping. What’s more, many studies have proven that exercising in shorter bursts and taking a break in between can help burn more fat compared to exercising continuously without rest.
The combination of high intensity interval training and intermittent fasting causes your body to shed excess body fat. You should also get more walking into your routine. You may want to aim for 7,000-10,000 steps on a daily basis over and above your regular workout regimen for best results. This will boost your metabolism as well as reverse the negative effects of sitting for prolonged periods of time.
Here Are Also Simple Exercises that Can Target Your Abs:
You shouldn’t overlook exercises that target your abdominal muscles as they will not contribute to a flat belly. It is important to know that your abs provide the foundation for movement throughout your body. If you strengthen these muscles, they can support and protect your back, and make your body and spine less prone to injury, thus leading to greater stability and balance.
Moreover, a strong abdominal wall plays a role in proper body movement. That’s not all, it can also lead to that 6-pack look once you have lost abdominal fat.
You should include the following traditional, stabilization, and functional exercises in your routine in order to strengthen your core muscles:
- Stabilizing exercises that include lying on the floor and pulling the belly back toward the spine and holding that position while taking deep breaths;
- Functional exercises that include working on a stability ball;
- Traditional exercises that include doing a standard crunch with rotation;
- Extension exercises that include lying on the stomach with arms extended above the head and raising both legs and arms, at the same time, off the ground. Next, you should stay in this position for about several seconds and then return to the starting position.
Here is also another important exercise: push-ups! This exercise does not only strengthen your upper body, but it can also strengthen your abdominal muscles if done properly.
To do, keep the body stiff and straight as a plank by placing the hands firmly on the floor directly under the shoulders.
Next, ground the toes into the floor in order to stabilize the lower half.
Afterwards, brace the core, engage hamstrings and glutes, and flatten the back, so that the body is straight.
Then, you should inhale on the way down and lower the body all the way down. But, make sure you allow the sternum to gently touch the ground.
Exhale on the way up.
- Zinczenko, David. ˮZero Belly Dietˮ;
- Rain, Amber. ”Losing Belly Fat:How To Exercise, Diet and Burn Stomach Fat Away, While Losing Inches Fast”;
- Katzen, Mollie. ”Eat, Drink, and Weigh Less: A Flexible and Delicious Way to Shrink Your Waist Without Going Hungry”;