Everyone has some belly fat, but if you have a large amount it can cause health problems. Carrying excess weight around your middle makes you more likely to develop diabetes or heart problems, so it’s important to take the necessary steps to lose some of that weight. Here are some tips that will help you get your tummy back in shape.
Tips to Help Lose Belly Fat
Exercise is always an important part of losing weight, and this includes losing belly fat. You should be aiming for 150 minutes of calorie-burning aerobic activity each week, which can include:
- Jogging or running
- Swimming or water aerobics
- Sports such as tennis and volleyball
- Ballroom or line dancing
It’s easy to get plenty of aerobic exercise because even brisk walking and some home chores (such as mowing the lawn) can count. You just need to put in enough effort to raise your heartbeat.
You could also try resistance training exercises such as any weight bearing exercise or strength training. Such exercise is important for preserving and increasing muscle mass.
There are no dietary changes which will specifically help you lose belly fat, but eating healthily enough to lose weight in general will help you shed that excess tummy weight. The following tips are a good place to start:
- Eat a balanced diet which includes five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
- Limit your sugar and salt intake.
- Get plenty of fibre and protein, both of which are associated with reduced unhealthy build-up of visceral fat in the body. Look for healthy sources of these nutrients. You can get a lot of fibre from wholegrain products and get your protein more from poultry, fish and low-fat dairy products.
- Reduce your portion sizes and avoid unnecessary snacking.
- Limit your alcohol intake. Small amounts of alcohol can have health benefits so you don’t need to give up altogether. But try to reduce your overall intake as research shows that too much can make you gain belly fat.
- Cut back on carbohydrates especially refined carbohydrates in your diet. Where possible, replace with healthy carb sources such as whole grains, pulses and vegetables.
- Try to eat fatty fish a couple of times a week. These could be salmon, herrings, sardines or mackerel. In addition to being a rich source of high quality protein, the omega 3 fats also protect you from disease and may help reduce visceral fat.
- Certain foods have been shown to have “fat-burning” characteristics so it may be worth including these in your diet. These foods include whole grains, lean meat, low fat dairy foods, green tea and chilli peppers.
Sleep is important for many areas of your health including your weight. Research has indicated that failing to get enough sleep can encourage your body to store more excess fat as well as making you more likely to eat more – a bad combination for your belly. While this factor may not play as large a role in the amount of belly fat you have as your diet and exercise habits, it’s best to try and get eight hours of sleep each night.
Stress can cause chemical reactions in the body which make you feel hungry. This makes you eat more than you usually would, making it significantly more difficult for you to lose belly fat. For this reason, finding effective ways to de-stress can really help to make your weight-loss efforts more successful. Find a way to blow off steam that works for you, which may be:
- Talking to friends and family
- Engaging in a hobby you find relaxing
Reducing the amount of stress you feel will help to improve your mental health, leaving you better prepared to make healthy choices that will benefit your body.
It’s important to bear in mind that it’s possible to have too much belly fat even if you’re of a normal weight overall. If you’re not very heavy but have noticeable excess fat around your waistline, it’s still important to follow these tips.
As a general guideline, you want your waist size to be less than 31 inches if you’re a woman and less than 37 inches if you’re a man. Forming a good diet plan and exercise regime is the way to achieve or maintain that healthy size.
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