Losing belly fat can be notoriously difficult. According to Dr. Lawrence J. Cheskin of Johns Hopkins Medicine and George Mason University, it’s a different form of fat when compared to other types of fat on the body. It’s a more metabolically active fat, and it gets into the bloodstream more quickly when compared to other fats. This contributes to negative influence on the blood, cholesterol, blood sugars, and diseases of the metabolic system.
An excess of belly fat can be a contributing factor to developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure. A person’s hormones, genetic makeup, and lifestyle all come into play when it comes to how they develop, and how they may ultimately tackle, the issue that is belly fat.
How To Lose Belly Fat
First and foremost, losing belly fat requires lifestyle changes. Temporary habits yield temporary results, and those who wish to keep the belly fat off must adapt to new permanent healthy habits. In one study by Obesity (Silver Spring), a group of individuals were tracked after losing weight for a period of 1 year. Those who continued their aerobic and strength training activities after losing weight were successful in preventing the return of visceral fat, while those who did not saw an increase in belly fat of 25-38%.
Adopting Good Habits Will Help With Losing Belly Fat (And Keep) The Belly Fat Gone
The habits a person adopts to get rid of the belly fat must turn into permanent life changes if they wish to do away with it for good. Many find that these habits not only help them to look better, but they increase stamina, improve mood, and leave them generally feeling better overall as well.
Up Fiber Intake
Nutritional changes are an absolute must when it comes to losing belly fat. One change is redirecting nutritional focus to upping daily fiber intake. Different types of fiber contribute to a person’s dietary needs in different ways. Viscous fiber can boost satiety and help a person to feel fuller after a meal, naturally curbing overeating habits that may be contributing to belly fat. Fermentable fibers fuel healthy gut bacteria, thereby aiding in the healthy digestion process. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, some fibers may even help the body to better control hunger hormones for fewer snack cravings and easier maintenance of good nutritional habits.
According to one study conducted by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the ingestion of high fiber whole grains were directly linked to reduced belly fat while refined grains increased belly fat. Healthy high fiber foods that can be simply incorporated into any belly fat busting nutritional plan include lentils, whole grains, plain popcorn, nuts, seeds, and fibrous fruits.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 3 Americans are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis. A lack of sleep may lead to hormone changes, inflammation, a lack of energy, and all these factors can contribute to an increase of belly fat within the body.
When a person fails to get enough sleep, they’re working with an energy deficit. In order to combat this energy deficit, they’re likely to experience more sugar or carbohydrate cravings throughout the day in an effort to replace the energy their bodies are missing. In addition to this, poor sleep can negatively affect a person’s mood, which may lead individuals to crave unhealthy “comfort foods” in an attempt to bring about positive feelings.
Engaging in physical activity is much more difficult when a person is lacking energy, making those who are sleep deprived more likely to engage in sedentary behaviors or resist exercise throughout the day. Rather than being treated as an afterthought, maintaining an adequate and consistent sleep schedule should be prioritized for anyone who considers losing belly fat a priority.
Adopt An Exercise Routine That Incorporates Both Cardiovascular And Strength Training Workouts
Adopting an exercise routine is another necessary lifestyle change if a person wishes to lose belly fat and keep it off. According to The Cleveland Clinic’s Dr. Sangeeta Kashyap, a combination of aerobic and weight training exercises is necessary to really make a difference in eliminating belly fat.
Cardiovascular exercises burn calories, boost energy, and strengthen the heart and lungs, while strength training focuses on building muscle mass. Increased muscle mass may help the body to burn more fat during cardiovascular workouts, and cardiovascular exercises can help to increase a person’s stamina in their weight training sessions.
According to the CDC, 150 minutes of moderate, or 75 minutes of intense, cardiovascular exercise and two days of strength training per week are ideal for the typical adult.
Prioritize Healthy Fats And Enjoy All Fats In Moderation
Not all fats are created equally, and some fats may aid in the process of ridding the body of belly fat. Higher intake of saturated fats has a direct link to increased visceral fats, and these should be avoided whenever possible. Saturated fats can be found in sweetened cereals, pastries or cookies, processed meats, soda, alcohol, and fried potatoes.
Monosaturated and polysaturated fats, however, are a different story. These fats can be found in foods like avocado, olive oil, walnuts, and fatty fish. These “good” fats can help the body to fight inflammation, they help the body to absorb certain vitamins and nutrients, and they can aid in brain, heart, and eye health.
Including these healthy fats in moderation within a nutritious and well-balanced diet can help a person to feel better overall. With improved overall health, a person is more likely to stick to an exercise routine, turn down unhealthy food choices, and have fewer comfort food snack cravings.
According to The Mayo Clinic, belly fat contributes to a number of challenging diseases. Subcutaneous and visceral belly fat can increase a person’s risk of developing high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, and may increase the risk of certain cancers. With positive lifestyle changes, losing belly fat can lead to a dramatic increase in a person’s quality of life.