8 Tips For Losing Belly Fat and Keeping It Off
Although most people think keeping a trim midsection is all about appearances, it’s actually much more than that. You can extend your life by paying attention to your belly fat. Losing weight lowers blood pressure, helps you sleep better, and can help you ward off diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
Although there is no such thing as a diet that specifically targets the midsection, you can nonetheless accomplish this by losing weight overall. In particular, reducing the amount of visceral fat — a type of fat within the abdominal cavity that can’t be seen but nonetheless increases the risk of a whole lot of health problems — is key.
So what are the 8 secrets to losing weight and keeping it off? Check out this list.
1. Always read labels
Take a look at nutritional labels on several brands and compare. You’ll notice, for instance, that some yogurt manufacturers will boast that they’re lower in fat than their competitors without mentioning that it contains loads of added sugar. After all, they know that a product that is low in fat still has to taste good. Also be aware that when they reduce the fat in peanut butter, mayonnaise, and other products, they replace it with sugar and additives that actually make these items less healthy.
2. Cut the carbs more than the fats
There was a time when health experts stressed the importance of a low-fat diet. Although you still have to watch out for foods that are high in fat — especially in unhealthy saturated fats and even less unhealthy trans fats — studies have found that people who practice a low-carb diet lose a little more than 10 pounds than those who try a low-fat diet, calories being equal (28.9 pounds versus 18.7 pounds). Aside from losing more weight, a low-carb diet results in a higher quality of weight loss. When losing fat, you are inevitably going to lose some lean muscle tissue as well. But with a low-carb diet, you lose less of that issue while losing more of the fat.
3. Think of it as a permanent lifestyle change, not merely a weight loss diet
Although your short-term goal might be to lose weight, what happens when you reach it? For many people, they simply return to their old eating habits and not only regain all of the weight they lost, they actually end up waiting more than ever before! This is why you should come up with a plan that is sustainable for life. By eliminating foods that are high in carbs and sugar and replacing them with high-fiber and high-protein choices like beans, lean chicken breast, and broccoli, you not only feel full, your body will thank you forever and ever. There are so many healthy foods out there that are delicious, satisfying, and filling that you never have to worry about a lack of variety.
4. Develop an exercise routine
We’re not saying you have to go to the gym and get swole. Even a moderate amount of strength training and aerobic exercise will do the trick. When you work out, the impact is felt long after you finish. Yes, imagine that! Your reward is burning calories for the rest of the day!
5. Avoid processed foods like the plague
Processed foods are often inexpensive and require minimal preparation. However, they are also chock full of sodium, sugar, preservatives, and other ingredients that come from a lab. Losing weight starts with knowing exactly what you’re putting into your body. For this reason, it is best to purchase vegetables, fruits, beans, and lean meats that you can cook yourself. There’s nothing wrong with vegetables from a can or frozen in a bag as they contain all of the nutrition that fresh vegetables have, although keep in mind that canned fruits often contain added syrup.
6. Find time for exercise anywhere you can
Physical activity is key to burning abdominal fat. Although the amount of exercise you’ll need to do depends on how much weight you want to lose, as a general rule it’s a good idea to get between 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise five days a week. No matter how busy you might be, you can always find time to exercise. For example, take the stairs instead of elevators. If you work at an office, spend your break going for a brisk walk in the parking lot area.
7. Your clothing size matters more than what the scale says
When you lose weight, you’re also making it a goal to add and maintain muscle mass. So you shouldn’t be surprised or disappointed if you don’t see results on your bathroom scale. Do you feel lighter? Are your pants looser? If you’re a guy of average height, you should aim for a waist that’s 40 inches or less. If you’re a woman, the goal should be 35 inches. A smaller waist decreases your chances of developing diabetes and heart problems.
8. Find a fitness partner or even several
If you’re around friends and family members who eat right and are fitness-oriented, you will be more likely to model your behavior based on their healthy habits.