Figuring out how to lose belly fat is often the hardest part of weight loss for most people.
Belly fat can actually be very dangerous for your health, it can cause a slew of health issues from diabetes, to heart disease, sleep apnea and even some cancer. Plus it’s uncomfortable and can lower self esteem. (1)
Visceral fat in the midsection accounts for many belly fat issues, and it’s extremely dangerous. Visceral fat is a deeper belly fat, stored further under the skin and actually wraps itself around vital organs including the kidneys and liver. (2)
Of course, along with all the health aspects of losing belly fat, there is also the cosmetic aspect. Having a flat (or at least flatter) belly will help you feel better in your own skin, in your clothing and give you a boost of self confidence.
Wouldn’t you love to put on your jeans and feel sexy as hell? In this article, I’ll show you how.
#1. Eat Foods That Burn Belly Fat
When it comes to weight loss, your diet is more important that exercise… and for belly fat weight loss, exercise is pretty important so that’s saying a lot!
We will get into the exercise aspect below, but for now here are the top 10 belly fat burning foods:
- Peppers – The hotter the better, hot peppers such as chili peppers, jalapenos, even cayenne powder help increase fat loss and stave off hunger. They also give you a healthy dose of metabolism boosting vitamin C! (3)
- Eggs – High in lean protein, eggs will help keep your cravings in check… so you will eat less and lose belly fat faster. Some studies have even shown that eating healthy proteins will actually help you lose belly fat. (4)
- Beans – When it comes to foods to eat to lose belly fat, beans are nature’s gift to mankind. They have the perfect balance of carbs and protein and they keep you full for hours. Black beans, kidney, lentils, garbanzo, and cannellini are all good choices. (5)
- Nuts and Seeds – Not only keep you full, the healthy protein can help you lose weight and even increase your metabolism. Almonds, walnuts, macadamia, cashews, pistachio, chia seeds, and hemp seeds are good examples. (6)
- Berries – Another metabolism boosting ingredient, berries are packed full of Vitamin C and fiber. Studies have shown that fiber helps raise your metabolism and helping you shed belly fat fast. Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, cranberries, and are good choices. (7)
- Avocados – We really love avocados here at Lose Weight by Eating! They are full of fiber, which is fantastic for weight loss and oh so good for you! This healthy fat will actually tell your body to release fat! (8) Enjoy ½ an avocado a day for best results.
- Leafy Greens – Help you feel satisfied longer, boost your metabolism and turn off your hunger receptors. You will eat less and lose more belly fat just by increasing your leafy greens! They’re low in calories and high in fiber, making them the perfect weight loss food. Not a fan? Try one of our yummy green smoothies. Examples include spinach, romaine lettuce, kale, bok choy, arugula, chard, and mustard greens.
- Citrus Fruit – Another big metabolism booster, so much good for you vitamin c and so easy to work into your diet! Squeeze some lemon, lime, orange, or all three fruits into your water and sip all day. (9) Enjoy an orange instead of your sugary snack, or a grapefruit when you crave sour candy.
- Coconut – Another healthy fat that tells your body to release unwanted belly fat! Try adding coconut water or coconut milk to your morning smoothie, swap out cooking with butter for coconut oil. (10)
- Broccoli – More good for you greens, broccoli helps increase metabolism and helps you burn more belly fat. And at just 30 calories per cup you can have as much as you want, so eat up!
Key Point: Certain foods have metabolism boosting properties and can help you burn belly fat. Try to incorporate these foods into your daily diet to kick your fat burning into high gear.
#2. Avoid Foods That Cause Belly Fat
If you want to know how to get flat stomach, there are some foods you should be avoiding.
The best diet to lose belly fat involves phasing these foods out by filling your diet with the healthy ingredients in our “Top 10 Foods That Burn Belly Fat” section above.
Processed Food – First off, all that processed food will only pack on belly fat and make you unhealthy. Try to remove all the prepackaged, preservative filled junk from your diet and replace it with whole foods. (11)
Sugar and Sugar Substitutes – Yep, all of it! Try to get your sweet fix from nature, fruit (especially the belly fat burning fruits outlined above) is a great alternative to traditional sugar, which will only turn into more fat. Even worse, fake sugar will make you sick and tell your body to hold onto fat. (12)
Go all natural whenever possible. Try to remove or reduce sugar in your favorite recipes, instead use mashed fruit. And remember, the more sweets you eat, the more you crave. So guess what… the less you eat the less you will crave it!
Carbohydrates – Not all of them, but try to cut how many carbs you eat by half. Refined carbs are the worst offenders: white bread, pasta and flour. So try swapping for all natural whole wheat versions.
Instead of having a whole sandwich at lunch have a half a sandwich and salad. Small changes will show big results!
Fats (The Unhealthy Kind) – I’m talking about the fried foods, heavy buttery dishes and unhealthy cuts of meat like bacon. You don’t really need me to tell you why these are packing on the belly fat do you?!
Swap out fried for baked, use olive oil or coconut oil when cooking and opt for lean protein that will actually help you take off the excess belly fat!
Alcohol – Empty calories, extra carbs and loads of sugar… oh my! Looking to get rid of that beer belly? Then put down the beer friend! All those extra calories and carbs are not helping your efforts. (13)
And if you’re a fan of the mixed drink, holy-moly the calories and sugar (real and fake) in those mixers are seriously hindering your weight loss efforts!
Key Point: Sugar, carbohydrates, processed foods, and alcohol all directly affect your waistline. Avoid these foods if you’re trying to get a flatter tummy.
#3. Do Exercises That Help You Lose Belly Fat
Keep in mind that in order to lose belly fat, calories need to be burned as well. Try these recommended exercises to lose belly fat to really get that weight off fast.
Interval Exercise – Interval exercise is great for reducing belly fat, small bursts of hard core exercise peppered in with low intensity exercise will keep your body guessing, raise your heart rate burning more calories, and increase fat burning in a big way!
So, how do you practice interval exercise?
It’s easy, say you love walking outside in your neighborhood, keep up your routine just run for a full minute for every 10 minutes of exercise. Really give it your all and kick butt, then back to walking and so on. You can do this in all exercise, if you swim, up your game for a full minute every 10 minutes of exercise.
Just in case this is still vague: For the first 9 minutes exercise like normal, on minute 10 give it 90%-100% and really work hard, then back down to normal exercise for the next 9 minutes, and back up for one more minute before cool down and stretching.
Pilates – Pilates is one the best core exercises available to lose stomach fat fast, and my current favorite. It involves small movements all centered around core strength that almost anyone at any age and any physical ability can do.
I have taken up Pilates in a big way, and not only do I have the faint line of a six pack starting to show, I have eliminated all my chronic back pain and CRPS/RSD pain! Plus I do look damn good in my jeans, if you’ll allow me to brag a little.
If you can afford it (and it is pricey so don’t hate me) try out a Pilates reformer class, otherwise a Pilates mat class at your gym or even an online video will help you tone up that tummy and feel amazing!
Other Exercises – Ab exercises will also help reduce belly fat and help you keep that tummy tone as you lose the weight. We are a huge fan of core and ab exercises here at Lose Weight by Eating, and consider them the best exercise to lose belly fat. Not only to they help you tone up fast, they also strengthen your back, fix your posture (which makes you look thinner!) and help you lose belly fat!
We also love yoga, hula-hooping (yep, great for the abs) and the good standby “Abs of Steel” videos, and trust me the outfits in the 1990’s video will increase the cardio aspect just from laughter alone! There are also a slew of videos online, find one you love and can stick to every few days and you’ll be toning as you shed the unwanted belly fat.
Here is a video I made for eHow on How to Lose Weight in Your Stomach & Thighs Without Very Much Exercise:
Key Point: You don’t have to work out for long periods to burn belly fat. Try doing high intensity exercises like running, swimming, pilates, and core exercises to help flatten your tummy quickly.
#4. Get More Sleep!
I will be the first to admit, I don’t get enough sleep every night, being a mom and a business woman I just don’t. Sometimes I don’t sleep because my mind is active, other times it’s because I’m stressed and more often than not it’s just my crazy schedule. But sleep is so important to get rid of belly fat and optimum health. (14)
Try to get between 7-9 hours (yes I said 9… doesn’t that sound heavenly?!) of sleep each night, sure it won’t always happen, but try sweetie! Set a sleep schedule, go to bed at the same time and wake at the same time, after awhile your body will get it and will take over… you know what I’m talking about.
Like when you wake up on a Saturday morning at the same time as your alarm would have gone off at during the workweek.
Key Point: Inadequate sleep can lead to weight gain, including belly fat accumulation.
#5. Avoid Stress
When humans get stressed, their bodies create a hormone called Cortisol. It’s essential for survival because it helps your body to mount a stress response.
Unfortunately, it can cause weight gain when produced in excess, especially in the abdominal region. (15)
This goes for both men and women, but women tend to hold onto more stress and therefore it affects weight loss more negatively (men, you can read this part… we won’t laugh it’s a valid concern in your lives too!).
Stress and lack of sleep go hand in hand, try to clear your mind after a long day with a hot bath, a good book or try a little yoga and meditation.
Key Point: The human hormone cortisol, also known as the “stress hormone”, may lead to increased belly fat.
#6. Consider Your Monthly Cycle
Also plays a huge part in weight loss and losing belly fat! From the wicked chocolate cravings to less sleep and more stress, plus we tend to weigh a good 5-10 pounds more in that week. Cut yourself some slack and plan ahead.
Allow yourself a few squares of dark chocolate each day, expect to weigh a little more and don’t be discouraged when you step on the scale, heck… just put that thing away for a week!
Key Point: Hormonal changes at in women throughout the month can result in temporary weight gain, especially in the belly area.
#7. Don’t skip meals!
Skipping even one meal can lower your ability to lose belly fat. I know you think by skipping a meal you are consuming fewer calories and therefore the weight should come off faster, but it will make weight loss that much harder. So stop skipping meals and just eat smarter.
Key Point: Skipping meals can actually harm your weight loss efforts, so don’t skip if you’re trying to lose belly fat.
You might be eager to lose belly fat to look and feel better, or because your doctor told you it was time to take better care of yourself. Either way, you can do this without any fancy equipment or memberships.
Simply take a good hard look at your diet, make a few modifications you can stick with and get your body moving. Not sure where you stand on diet? Write down everything you eat this week, then compare it to the list above and see where you could have made better choices. Don’t beat yourself up though, learning how to lose stomach fat fast is a process. Simply find areas to improve and work on them next week.
Lastly, be kind to yourself…. Weight loss is hard enough, putting yourself down certainly does not help! Stop calling yourself fat, you have fat, you are not fat. Be kind and patient with yourself, remember stress causes weight gain!