Contrary to popular belief, there are, unfortunately, no specific exercises you can do to target stubborn belly fat. You can do crunches all day and have very little to show. This is because where we lose fat is genetically determined, so focusing solely on your stomach will only frustrate you. Concentrating on losing weight overall will help you in your pursuit. However, this is a complex process.
5 Ways diet and nutrition play a role in belly fat
Diet and Nutrition: Key to Stomach Fat Loss
Diet and nutrition are the most critical steps for stomach fat loss. You can never compete with an unhealthy diet, no matter how much exercise you do. Here are 5 tips you should start doing:
Reduce Alcohol and Sugary Beverages
Curb your intake of alcohol and sweetened beverages. Calories from alcohol add up fast, which can quickly put you into a caloric surplus. Increased regular alcohol consumption has also been linked to increased belly fat, likely due to an increase in visceral fat. Sugary beverages act the same way: they spike blood sugar and insulin levels, resulting in more belly fat storage.
Avoid Trans Fats
Avoid foods containing trans fats, as they contribute to inflammation, heart disease, insulin resistance, and abdominal fat gain. You can find trans fats in processed foods like pre-packaged items, margarine and spreads, fast foods, and fried foods. To help avoid trans fats, start eating more whole foods and pay attention to food labels. Trans fats can also be labeled as partially hydrogenated fats.
Eat a high-protein diet. This doesn’t mean you have to cut out carbs. It just means approximately 30% of your calories should come from protein. Protein is essential for weight management because it raises your metabolic rate, which allows you to burn fat more efficiently. Protein also keeps you full longer to keep you from overeating and helps you retain muscle mass during weight loss to improve your overall body composition.
Cut Back on Carbs and Refined Sugars
Cut back on carbs and significantly refined sugars. Replacing simple carbs with unprocessed complex carbs such as whole grains can be enough to trigger belly fat loss. Refined carbs lack most fiber, minerals, and vitamins, making them “empty calories.” This category includes white flour, white bread, white rice, pastries, sodas, snacks, pasta, sweets, breakfast cereals, and added sugars. Due to their high glycemic index, simple carbs produce rapid spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels after meals—high insulin levels over time result in fat storage, specifically around the abdomen.
Increase Soluble Fiber Intake
Eat more soluble fiber, which is slow to digest, keeping you full longer to prevent you from overeating. Good sources of soluble fiber include flax seeds, Brussels sprouts, avocados, blackberries, and legumes. Soluble fiber also helps with weight loss by blocking fats that would otherwise be digested and absorbed.
Lifestyle Changes to Target Stubborn Belly Fat
Belly fat isn’t only caused by what you eat. Your lifestyle also plays a role. Here are different ways you can lose your belly fat:
Lower Stress Levels
Lower your stress levels. Chronic stress causes a spike in the hormone cortisol. There is a strong link between uncontrollable stress and bell fat. You can learn to manage your stress levels through exercise, meditation, and sleep.
Incorporate Resistance Training
Exercise, specifically resistance training. Strength training promotes muscle growth, which increases your energy expenditure. You end up burning more calories throughout the day. Resistance training also helps reduce visceral fat, which tends to store around the mid-section.
Stay Active and Move More
Stay active. You mustn’t remain too sedentary. Aside from exercise, you should spend less time sitting and more time moving. Spend more time outdoors more steps in.
Get more sleep. Believe it or not, the amount and quality of your sleep affect your weight. Aim for at least 7 hours of restful sleep per night.
Drink Plenty of Water
Drink more water. Dehydration causes your body to retain more water, causing bloating. It can also lead to poor digestion and constipation.
Lose Belly Fat and Live Healthier Too.
Although you can’t magically melt belly fat, you can achieve your desired results with the proper diet and lifestyle changes. Give yourself time and recognize how these changes help you get rid of stubborn belly fat but also help you feel better! Living a healthier lifestyle will make you look and feel better inside and out!
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