Losing weight and having a flat stomach is a goal many people work towards, but getting rid of that stubborn belly fat can oftentimes be challenging. No matter how many crunches or trendy diets we do, sometimes it feels like the weight just isn't coming off. But don't give up. Losing that belly fat is possible. Eat This, Not That! Health, talked to several experts about how to really lose abdominal fat. Read the 12 tips below. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
Manage Your Blood Sugar
"The best way to quickly lose abdominal fat is to regulate blood sugar by eating high quality protein and fat, such as grass fed beef, wild caught salmon, grass fed butter, and olive oil," Virginia Gruhler, a Holistic Health Coach explains. "Focusing on high quality protein and fat will eliminate sugar cravings, keep your blood sugar stable, and keep you feeling satiated. Keeping your blood sugar stable is imperative to allow your body time to metabolize your food and burn fat in between meals."
Stay Hydrated and Replenish Electrolytes
Our body needs plenty of water to stay alive and healthy, but it also helps in weight loss goals. "This will help manage your hunger, boost your energy, boost metabolism, and boost digestion. Aim to drink half your body weight, in ounces, of water and use mineralized sea salt to replenish electrolytes!," Gruhler says.
Keep Your Stress in Check
Stress causes so many problems including packing on unwanted pounds. According to Gruhler, "Chronic stress can cause elevated cortisol levels, which can increase insulin and cause blood sugar imbalance. High stress levels can also cause increased cravings for sugary and fatty foods! Learning stress management techniques like reading, walking, journaling, exercising, or talking to a friend can help you to lower cortisol levels and help belly fat to fall off."
Focus on Your Entire Body, Not Just Your Belly
Instead of targeting one area of your body, focus on losing overall body weight Robert Herbst a personal trainer, weight loss and wellness expert, and powerlifter says, "the only way to lose belly fat is to lose overall body fat. As your body fat decreases, ultimately your belly fat will be reduced. The best way to do that is to elevate your metabolism through exercise such as weight training, which creates metabolically active muscle which burns calories and which raises your metabolism as your body recovers from the workout, and high intensity training (HIIT), which creates an oxygen debt. These will make you fitter and stronger and put you on the path to losing belly fat."
Allow Yourself to Feel Hungry Throughout the Day
We don't need to feel full all day, says Jake Jackson, a certified level two Crossfit Coach. "Realize that it's ok to feel a little hungry throughout the day. If you're ravenous, then you're eating too little. Once you've achieved a deficit where you are moderately hungry (occasionally) then you can add in some exercise that is appealing to you. Ideally this would be a mix of resistance training and cardio, but it doesn't have to be this. If you prefer a dance class, cycling, or rock climbing, any of those activities will burn a little extra energy allowing you to stay in a caloric deficit.
Weigh Yourself Intermittently
"Research is clear that you should lose .5-1% of your body weight per week," Jackson states. If you lose more, you run the risk of burning your muscle mass, and ruining your diet. Losing abdominal fat is a long term game. If you follow this plan you should notice your clothes fitting looser within a month, and others will start to notice big changes soon after."
Stop Eating Sugar
We all know sugar isn't good for us, but it could be preventing abdominal fat loss. Dr. Brian Griffin DC, FNP-C with Blue Tree Health explains, "There are two different types of fat in the abdominal area; visceral fat and subcutaneous fat. The number one thing I tell my patients when trying to Lose both types is to STOP eating extra added sugar (simple carbs) including alcohol. Why? When we eat added sugars our body sends an insulin surge to bring down the levels of sugar. The sugar is then converted to glycogen in the liver which is ultimately stored as fat."
Gut Health is Important
"If we are not going to the bathroom at least once daily you should incorporate fermented foods ( 1-2 servings daily)," Dr. Griffin says. Fermented foods have a large amount of probiotics to help your natural gut flora. Fermented foods would be sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha. Why? Bloating and extra fecal matter can push out on the abdominal wall and will make it harder to maintain that flat abdominal appearance."
You know the saying no pain, no gain. Dr. Griffin explains, "I always suggest to my patients, on top of cardio (high intensity interval training is the best) to also focus on doing abdominal exercises. One of the easiest ways is to get a large exercise ball and start with 50 crunches daily. Don't forget to work those obliques on the side by doing side crunches. Why? Abdominal exercises and interval training will help reduce the subcutaneous fat, while diet generally will focus on visceral fat. For health purposes visceral fat is the worst type because this is the fat that surrounds your organs. For aesthetic purposes subcutaneous fat is the stubborn fat that sits outside your stomach muscle."
Get More Sleep
Getting a good night's sleep feels good and it can help you lose weight, according to Catherine Johnston, a Registered Dietitian. She says, "Just like stress, inadequate sleep can be double trouble for abdominal fat gain. Getting less than the recommended 7-9 hours per night can lead to daytime high-calorie food cravings, especially carbohydrates which can help wake us up with quick energy. Additionally, chronic poor sleep quality or quantity can increase cortisol levels. Try tracking your sleep and making small adjustments to your routine to get more time in bed. Additionally – a fitness tracker can help determine your sleep quality, and help you decide if you need to get your doctor onboard with a treatment plan."
Burning more calories than you eat is referred to as a calorie deficit and "you cannot burn fat without being in a calorie deficit, " explains Jesse Milburn, fitness/nutrition coach with UnshakableFit. "One of the easiest ways to be in a calorie deficit is by controlling how many calories you eat in a day. Some people find it hard to stick with it because it can feel restricting. The way to be successful with a calorie deficit is to still eat the foods you enjoy but understand how many calories you're eating throughout the day. Over time you will start to see your abdominal fat getting smaller and smaller."
"Walking is a great way to burn calories and get moving," says Milburn. Walking can help put you in a calorie deficit by burning calories. Another good thing about walking is it can help relieve stress. When we are in a chronic state of stress. It is harder for our bodies to lose fat. When we are chronically stressed the hormone cortisol is released through our body constantly. Cortisol can wreak havoc on our bodies over time which can lead to weight gain and difficulty losing abdominal fat. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.