A bowl of healthy food

How to Reduce Belly Fat

4 Realistic Ways to Reduce Belly Fat

Belly fat is more than annoying, it can be dangerous to your health. Visceral fat, also known as “hidden fat,” is stored deep inside the belly and has been linked to various diseases including heart disease, diabetes, dementia and certain cancers, including breast and colon cancer.

Losing belly fat can be challenging, but there are various things you can try to reduce belly fat and improve your health.

1. Stay Active!

Getting regular exercise is essential for reducing excess belly fat. A combination of both aerobic activity and resistance training will provide optimal results.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking, leisure bike riding, etc.) a week or 75 minutes of vigorous activity (i.e., jogging, dancing, etc.) per week, as well as at least two days of strengthening exercise.

2. Find a Suitable Food Plan

When making diet changes think of the changes as a “plan” rather than a “diet”. Making healthier food choices is a mindset and coming up with a plan that you can stick to is important for reducing belly fat.

Some tips when it comes to your food plan:

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet: Try to include lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains as well as lean meats and low-fat dairy. Cut out added sugar and saturated fats (often found in red meat and high-fat dairy products) and replace them with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats (i.e., fish, nuts and seeds, etc.).
  • Curb the carbs: While you don’t have to follow a low-carb food plan, you should consider reducing simple carbs, including cookies, cakes and fruit juices from your diet. Replace carbs with carbohydrates that include fiber including whole grains, beans, legumes, etc.
  • Eat lots of soluble fiber: Soluble fiber absorbs water and helps slow down the passage of food through the digestive system, which can help you to feel fuller longer and therefore eat less. Additionally, it may help to reduce calorie absorption from the food you eat. Great sources of soluble fiber include legumes, blackberries, flax seeds and avocados.
  • Pack your plate with protein: Consuming lean protein (i.e., lean chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, beans and lentils, nuts, and seeds) each time you eat will help to keep you feeling full. Aim for 20 to 30 grams with each meal, and 10 grams with each snack.
  • Avoid late night snacking: Research has found that eating with your body clock and natural circadian rhythms helps to reduce fat storage. Eating earlier in the day can help your body to process food better and help to control your weight.
  • Replace sugary drinks: Substitute sugary drinks with water or beverages with artificial sweetener.
  • Be aware of portion sizes: Calories add up quickly, so it’s important to watch portion sizes. When you’re at home, trim them down a bit, when eating out share a meal or take part of your meal home.
  • Limit alcohol: Research has linked heavy alcohol consumption to increased risk of developing belly fat. Limiting or avoiding alcohol consumption can help to reduce belly fat.

Kiwis are a great food to add to your diet, especially for adults. They can be eaten as part of breakfast, or as a snack throughout the day. If you want, add them on top of ice cream as well for a special treat! Kiwis are full of vitamin C, fiber, potassium and antioxidants.

3. Getting Enough Sleep

Getting enough quality sleep is important for reducing excess belly fat, so it’s important that you prioritize your sleep. One study, published in Sleep, found that adults younger than 40 who routinely got less than five hours of sleep per night had a significant increase in both subcutaneous and visceral fat accumulation.

In another study, individuals who got six to seven hours of sleep each night gained less visceral fat over a period of five years, compared to individuals that slept fewer than five hours, or more than eight hours per night.

Based on this research sleeping for six to seven hours per night may be ideal for decreasing belly fat.

4. Manage Stress

Learning ways to cope with stress is important for reducing belly fat, as stress triggers the adrenal glands to produce cortisol, which can lead to increased appetite and abdominal fat storage.

There are various things you can try to get your stress under control including exercising, meditating, yoga, counseling, relaxing with friends and family, or doing something you enjoy. Having your stress levels under control allows you to make better and healthier choices for yourself.

Final Notes

Losing belly fat can be difficult; try not to focus on your bathroom scale as the number may not change significantly, but rather on how you feel and how your clothes fit.

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