“I am in shape.
Unfortunately it's the wrong one.”
You might have considered following a dieting plan to get rid of belly fat.
You might have succeeded in burning your belly fat to some extent.
But, what you might not have considered doing is educating yourself properly about the nature of belly fat.
No real expert will ever tell you ‘burning belly fat is easy’. Those who do are unaware of ground realities. People who have enormous bellies invest in countless calories and implement a sedentary lifestyle to achieve this shape. How can they get rid of belly fat that easily then?
That’s bitter, but true for many; not all!
Before I discuss how to lose weight fast, lets get to know more about our enemy – the belly fat. Here are some important facts about belly fat:
In terms of metabolism, belly fat is very active. It builds-up and breaks-down rapidly.
Belly fat lies close to intestines and liver. This ‘location’ has its own significance. When belly fat breaks down, free fatty acids and certain chemical factors that cause inflammation are released. These are carried directly to the liver through portal circulation. Once in the liver, lipids are formed. As a result good cholesterol is lowered while bad cholesterol level elevates.
Belly fat functions like an endocrine gland, producing hormones that affect health negatively. These hormones can affect other hormones as well. They also affect the immune response, making our body more vulnerable to infections etc.
Insulin resistance is related to belly fat. Insulin resistance means that although insulin exists in the body, it is unable to function normally.
Belly fat is very responsive to exercise.
The existence of belly fat depends upon foods that nourish it. Therefore, it yields easily to dietary changes.
So, now you know you enemy well; you know how belly fat works. You also know its weaknesses. All you need to learn now is how to exploit these weaknesses and how to burn belly fat.
If you want to learn about what causes belly fat, you can click here.
How to lose belly fat?
“Desperate times call for desperate measures”
For your convenience, I have divided the required interventions into ‘lifestyle changes' and ‘dietary changes'.
Keep track of your food intake & exercise
What you are about to read may seem overwhelming, but trust me, all this is true.
1st– Although ‘change’ is inevitable; yet we always hate change. So, make small changes – sudden drastic changes are impossible to implement.
2nd- Most people fail to lose belly fat because they don’t keep a record of their activities and diets.
3rd - Keeping a record and maintaining it is extremely depressing in the start, but, very rewarding in the long run.
So, for your own sake, if you really want to get rid of belly fat, get in the habit of writing down every bit of information that relates to your obesity health. If you do not do this, you fail to take any corrective measures that may be needed from time to time. Of course, not everything goes as planned and you always have to have a plan B for everything you do.
So, write down everything to keep track of what you are about to do to lose belly fat.
So, how do you know you are stressed? Here are a few signs that show you are stressed:
- Being forgetful
- Getting angry easily
- Being irritable
- Being anxious
- Being depressed
- Making poor choices
- Difficulty in making decisions
Just a reminder, “Stressed Spelled Backwards is Desserts”.
Sleep more to lose belly fat
Yes, that’s true. 7 to 9 hours of sleep is essential; every night, 365 nights a year!
If you reduce sleep by ONLY ONE HOUR, your chances of becoming obese increase by about 2.5 times.
But is there anything you can do to improve your sleep? Here are a few things:
- An amino acid called tryptophan can do wonders. It can be converted to melatonin and serotonin within our body. These substances then affect our mood, behavior and sleep. Poultry, nuts, eggs, fish, shrimp and lentils are good sources of tryptophan and if you consume them on an empty stomach, you can reap their ‘sleeping’ benefits with ease.
- TV, cell phone, laptops, tablets and night-lights – stay away from all of them when you are in your bedroom.
- Stop consuming dark chocolate, caffeine, alcohol and carbs at least 6 hours before going to sleep.
Is a daily 16-hour-food-ban acceptable to you?
4 important things happen when you are fasting.
1st– chemical signals are sent to your fat stores and fats are mobilized. Fats are broken down into free fatty acids, which are then consumed to get energy.
2nd– insulin level in the blood falls, thus facilitating fats breakdown.
3rd– growth hormone level increases. As a result your muscles ‘gain’ while fat stores ‘lose’.
4th– triglyceride levels fall.
Intermittent fasting is exceptionally beneficial. This refers to the idea of ‘fasting’ for 16 hours followed by an 8-hour period of ‘feasting’. If your health allows, this can be a game changer for you.
One last thing – Fasting is free, it doesn’t cost you a dime!
Crunches, 30-minute brisk walks, high-intensity exercises like zumba or aerobics, cycling and leg-raises are all effective.
The only problem: low motivation to implement exercise plans!
Follow your plan ‘religiously’ and there is no reason you cannot lose belly fat.
Drink more water
I have placed this on top since this is the most convenient thing you can do to lose belly fat.
Do you know that your resting-energy-expenditure increases by about 25% merely by drinking a glass of cold water? You don’t even have to get out of your bed to do this!
In simple words, drink more water to allow your body to spend more energy and as a result lose more belly fat.
Additionally, drinking water before and during meals helps lessen appetite. This also prevents you from consuming sweet beverages.
So, make this your habit: drink more water and do it before and during your meals; never immediately after the meal.
Eat the right fibers
Adults should consume at least 25 to 38 grams of fiber every day. Do you know what is the average daily consumption among Americans? On average, it is only 15 grams per day!
Dietary fiber that is soluble in water is termed soluble fiber. This type of fiber swells and becomes jelly-like. Apples, oranges, oats, peas, barley, lentils, fruits, beans and vegetables are good sources of soluble fiber.
Insoluble fiber on the other hand does not absorb water. It facilitates food movement within intestines, thereby decreasing the transit time.
Although a mix of both fiber types is essential, more soluble fiber is recommended to lose belly fat. It gives you a feeling of fullness, increases transit time of food through intestines and therefore leaves little room for more food.
Cut trans fats by replacing them, not eliminating them.
Many natural oils are unsaturated, which means more carbon-to-carbon bonds in their molecule. In simple words this means more healing power. But, this form of fats has a short shelf life, so sellers cannot make fortunes.
The solution? Hydrogen atoms are pumped to convert unsaturated fats into saturated ones (trans fats). The result: more yield and extended shelf life.
But, are trans fats healthy for your belly? A simple answer is ‘NO’.
So, if you want to burn belly fat fast, you have to choose a healthy alternative.
Healthy alternatives to trans fats include natural unsaturated vegetable oils. E.g. corn, soy, canola or olive oils etc.
Eat more proteins
A protein rich diet reduces cravings while enhancing metabolism. All this helps you lose belly fat.
But this has to be a long-term strategy. You should continue consuming more proteins even after you have achieved your goal of losing belly fat.
Best sources of protein are fish like salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, anchovies etc. Other good sources of protein are meat, whole eggs, dairy, nuts and legumes etc.
Needless to explain how ‘added sugars’ devastate our health.
Say ‘No’ to added sugars!
Learn to accept the fact that nature knows well how sweet any edible stuff should be.
High fructose corn syrup and sucrose should be avoided. Soft drinks, sodas and fruit juices are equally detrimental. Instead of juices, consume whole fruits.
Cut refined carbs
The debate between carbs and fats is a bitter one. But, recent research seems to blame carbs more than fats.
Multiple studies have shown that reducing carbs can prove two to three times more beneficial than reducing fats in the diet.
So, instead of lowering fats, you should focus more on lowering carbs. An added advantage of this approach is the immediate weight loss that is observed due to loss of water-weight. This happens within 3 days!
Bringing down your carbs intake to 50 grams per day can provide you amazing results, because at this point ketosis kicks in. But again, this depends upon how dedicated you are about getting rid of your belly fat.
Apple cider vinegar
This works by improving insulin sensitivity and by increasing satiety.
Simply put, if you consume apple cider vinegar, less insulin becomes sufficient to handle the glucose load after a meal. Less insulin translates into less fats accumulation.
Likewise, since apple cider vinegar enhances the feeling of satiety, you are more likely to reduce your food intake.
Important Note: always dilute apple cider vinegar before consumption.
Green tea works by mobilizing fats from fat cells and then making it available for consumption as an energy source. If you want to maximize green tea benefits, drink it before exercise. Research has shown that more fats are lost when green tea or green tea extracts are consumed before exercise.
Moreover, since green tea elevates your metabolic rate, you are likely to burn more calories even when you are sitting idle or sleeping.
Getting rid of belly fat is totally possible if you are dedicated to achieve your desired results. You can start this journey right now by grabbing a pencil and a piece of paper and writing down the related parameters like your weight, waist size, calorie intake, water intake, sleep duration, daily exercise duration etc. Once you have this information on a piece of paper, chalk out a plan with a clearly defined target.
Start acting NOW by drinking a glass of water!
Sanjiv Kaul, Megan P. Rothney, Dawn M. Peters, Wynn K. Wacker, Cynthia E. Davis, Michael D. Shapiro, and David L. Ergun. "Dual‐energy X‐ray absorptiometry for quantification of visceral fat." Obesity 20, no. 6 (2012): 1313-1318.
Jon Ebbert and Michael Jensen. "Fat depots, free fatty acids, and dyslipidemia." Nutrients 5, no. 2 (2013): 498-508.
Mohsen M. Ibrahim, "Subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissue: structural and functional differences." Obesity reviews 11, no. 1 (2010): 11-18.
Pavankumar Patel and Nicola Abate. "Body fat distribution and insulin resistance." Nutrients 5, no. 6 (2013): 2019-2027.
Julia H. Goedecke and Lisa K. Micklesfield. "The effect of exercise on obesity, body fat distribution and risk for type 2 diabetes." In Diabetes and Physical Activity, vol. 60, pp. 82-93. Karger Publishers, 2014.
Dora Romaguera, Lars Ängquist, Huaidong Du, Marianne Uhre Jakobsen, Nita G. Forouhi, Jytte Halkjær, Edith JM Feskens et al. "Dietary determinants of changes in waist circumference adjusted for body mass index–a proxy measure of visceral adiposity." PloS one 5, no. 7 (2010): e11588.
Kolsoom Parvaneh, Bee Koon Poh, Majid Hajifaraji, and Mohd Noor Ismail. "Sleep deprivation is related to obesity and low intake of energy and carbohydrates among working Iranian adults: a cross sectional study." Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition (2014).
Trisha Jenkins, Jason Nguyen, Kate Polglaze, and Paul Bertrand. "Influence of tryptophan and serotonin on mood and cognition with a possible role of the gut-brain axis." Nutrients 8, no. 1 (2016): 56.
Valter D. Longo and Mark P. Mattson. "Fasting: molecular mechanisms and clinical applications." Cell metabolism 19, no. 2 (2014): 181-192.
G. Dubnov-Raz, N. W. Constantini, H. Yariv, S. Nice, and N. Shapira. "Influence of water drinking on resting energy expenditure in overweight children." International journal of obesity 35, no. 10 (2011): 1295.
Dana E.King, Arch G. Mainous III, and Carol A. Lambourne. "Trends in dietary fiber intake in the United States, 1999-2008." Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 112, no. 5 (2012): 642-648.
Kelly D. Brownell and Jennifer L. Pomeranz. "The trans-fat ban—food regulation and long-term health." New England Journal of Medicine 370, no. 19 (2014): 1773-1775.
Margriet S.Westerterp-Plantenga, Sofie G. Lemmens, and Klaas R. Westerterp. "Dietary protein–its role in satiety, energetics, weight loss and health." British journal of nutrition 108, no. S2 (2012): S105-S112.
Lydia A. Bazzano, Tian Hu, Kristi Reynolds, Lu Yao, Calynn Bunol, Yanxi Liu, Chung-Shiuan Chen, Michael J. Klag, Paul K. Whelton, and Jiang He. "Effects of low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets: a randomized trial." Annals of internal medicine161, no. 5 (2014): 309-318.
Eleni I. Petsiou, Panayota I. Mitrou, Sotirios A. Raptis, and George D. Dimitriadis. "Effect and mechanisms of action of vinegar on glucose metabolism, lipid profile, and body weight." Nutrition reviews 72, no. 10 (2014): 651-661.
Ying Zhang, Yingjie Yu, Xu Li, Shinichi Meguro, Satoshi Hayashi, Mitsuhiro Katashima, Takeshi Yasumasu, Jingzhong Wang, and Keji Li. "Effects of catechin-enriched green tea beverage on visceral fat loss in adults with a high proportion of visceral fat: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial." Journal of Functional Foods 4, no. 1 (2012): 315-322.