Reducing belly fat is amongst one of the most common weight loss goals for many. Excess fat on the belly, thighs, and hips can lead to serious health problems for individuals.
People with a slim body structure, having excess belly fat, are equally at an increased risk than the ones having a higher BMI. The Body Mass Index measures your body fat based on height and weight and is widely used as an indicator of a person’s healthy body weight.
However, BMI usage to predict the risk of metabolic disease can often be misleading, especially for the individuals holding excess body fat on their belly, despite conforming to the usual BMI norms. (1)
In this article, we’ll be providing you with the 21 effective tips on how to reduce belly fat that you can follow to lose belly fat.
Two types of fat surround your belly area:
- subcutaneous fat
- visceral fat.
Visceral fat accumulates inside the body and is regarded as a significant risk factor associated with type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, and cancer.
However, do not lose hope. You will face many hurdles while heading on your how to lose belly fat’ journey, but once combined with the right diet and optimal workout, there is no going back.
21 Effective Tips on How to Lose Belly Fat:
1. Avoid Trans Fat
Trans fats are artificially produced fats created by pumping hydrogen into unsaturated fats like in soyabean oil.
According to the researchers at Wake Forest University, trans fats contribute to increased fat around the belly by adding new fat and moving fat from other areas of the body to the belly. (2)
Trans fats are heavily present in substances like margarine (3) and packaged food items.
Trans fats have been linked to diseases and conditions like (4),
- heart disease
- insulin resistance
- abdominal fat gain
While buying food items for consumption, ensure that the ingredient labels do not contain trans fats, which are often listed as hydrogenated fats on the packaging.
2. Cut Carbs Out
Carbs refer to the sugar, fibers, and starches found in fruits, vegetables, grains, and milk products (5).
Cutting out entirely on the bad carbs found in food items having refined flour allows your body to burn the stored fat for energy, making your’ how to reduce belly fat’ journey faster.
Replacing bad carbs with good carbs found in items like beans, cereal, and whole wheat bread, and consuming under 50 gms of carbs per day can be beneficial for losing belly fat. (6)
- White bread
- White processed rice
- Other processed food items
- Unprocessed food items
- Whole grain bread
3. Include High Proteins in Diet
Protein constitutes one of the most critical elements of any person’s ‘how to reduce belly fat’ journey.
High protein foods help raise your metabolic rate and also assists in retaining muscle mass during weight loss. (7)
Intake of a high protein diet allows individuals aiming to lose belly fat consume an adequate amount of food with lesser calories, helping promote fullness due to the release of PYY (fulness hormone).
Ideal food items that help in your how to lose belly fat journey are:
- Lean meat
4. Don’t Drink Alcohol in Excess
Excess consumption of alcohol is associated with severe health risks and contributes to the accumulation of excess belly fat in the abdominal area.
Various observational studies linked heavy alcohol consumption with a significantly increased risk of developing excessive fat around the waist. (8)
However, other researches showed that average consumption of one or less drink per day had less central obesity than individuals’ drinking less frequently but with more copious amounts. (10)
Some low-calorie alcoholic beverages include (11):
- Tequila with fresh lime
- Vodka soda with lemon
- Mojito without syrup
- Lighty bloody mary
- Diet gin and tonic
- White wine
- Red wine
5. Eat Plenty of Soluble Fibers
Soluble fibers are food items that promote slow digestion, helping promote weight loss through the feeling of fullness.
There are two types of fibers (12):
- Soluble: attract water and turns to gel during digestion, slowing down the process of digestion. Found in foods like bran, barley, whole wheat, nuts, seeds, beans, etc.
- Insoluble: adds bulk to stool and digest quickly, promoting excessive eating habits. Found in wheat bran, vegetables, and whole grains.
An observational study conducted on over 1100 adults found that for every 10 gm increase in soluble fiber intake, the abdominal fat gain decreased by 3.7 percent (13).
6. Reduce Your Sugar Intake
Sugar is the worst enemy in your’ how to lose belly fat’ journey.
Sugar contains fructose that has been linked to several chronic diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and fatty liver disease when consumed in excess (14).
According to a report published by Harvard, high sugar intake leads to a vast accumulation of fat, which might turn to fatty liver disease, as the sugar is metabolized in the liver the same way alcohol is (15).
7. Don’t Stress Out
Something that not many of us are aware of is that stressing out can lead to weight gain, especially in the belly region.
Studies suggest that stress hurts our bodies, allowing our stress hormones to attract opportunities to dwell in unhealthy food items.
The high cortisol levels increase our appetite, leading to an increase in abdominal fat storage (16)
Some activities which help lower your stress levels include:
- listening to music
- and indulging in pleasurable activities like dance and singing
8. Cardio is Your Best Friend
Cardio is an effective and fast way to burn calories quickly and plays a significant role in improving your overall health.
However, your exercise program frequency and intensity also determine how rapidly you’ll move forward in your’ how to lose belly fat’ journey (17).
Some cardio activities that you can indulge in on your’ how to reduce belly fat’ journey are (60 minutes average daily):
- Abdominal and core toning exercises
- High-intensity biking
- HIIT workouts
9. Replace Bad Fats with Good Fats
Good fats are necessary to maintain the normal functioning of the body.
Coconut oil is considered the healthiest fat that you can consume that promotes abdominal fat loss in your’ how to reduce belly fat’ journey (18).
Some sources of good fats that can assist in your’ how to lose belly fat’ journey are:
- Coconut oil
- Avocado oil
- Olive oil
10. Practice Weight Lifting
You can boost your’ how to reduce belly fat’ journey by adding an exercise routine to your diet.
Weight lifting, also known as resistance training, plays a crucial role in your ‘how to lose belly fat’ journey, as it helps shed fat and preserve and build muscle mass.
A study conducted on overweight teenagers showed that a combination of resistance training and aerobic exercises led to a massive decrease in visceral fat (20).
However, do consult a certified personal trainer and talk to him about your problem areas to help him give you the right weight lifting exercises on ‘how to reduce belly fat.’
11. Avoid sugar-sweetened drinks
If you aim at having a successful ‘how to reduce belly fat’ journey, avoid sugar-sweetened drinks altogether.
Sugar-sweetened drinks contain liquid fructose, which can make you gain abdominal fat.
Studies even showed sugar’s uniquely harmful effects on metabolic health and its ability to build up fat around your abdomen and liver if consumed in large amounts (21).
Some sugar-sweetened drinks to ban entirely from your diet on ‘how to reduce belly fat’ are:
- cold drinks
- sweet tea
- alcohol mixers containing sugar
12. Get a Quality Sleep
The cell regeneration process and all the other changes in your body take place during your deep sleep cycle, which can only be possible if you get a night of quality sleep.
Not getting enough sleep can increase weight, especially in the abdominal area of your body.
Ensure that you’re getting 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night to maintain your well-being and help in the regulation of your weight.
13. Watch Your Calorie Intake
An average female and male body require 2000 and 2500 calories per day to maintain their weight and around 500 calories less for each to lose one pound a week.
Monitor your calorie intake every day and keep track of your portion sizes. Your meal should comprise of protein, fat, and low carbs to lose belly fat.
When the right diet is combined with optimal exercises, it can do wonders for your ‘how to reduce belly fat’ journey.
Note: Maintain a diary or use an online food tracker to keep a check on your calorie intake.
14. Consume Fatty Fish Each Week
Fatty fish are incredibly useful for promoting overall health and also play a significant role in reducing visceral fat around your belly.
Fatty fish are rich in protein and omega-3 fats that protect you from diseases and might even help reduce visceral fat accumulated around the belly.
Some of the healthiest fish that are the best for ‘how to lose belly fat’ journey are (22):
- pacific cod
15. Have Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is regarded to be a belly fat melting elixir and has been viral on social media.
A study conducted on 39 adults found that participants consuming one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar at lunch and dinner, while cutting down on 250 calories per day, lost over 8.8 pounds in 12 weeks. On the other hand, the ones that did not consume apple cider vinegar while cutting down on the same number of calories lost only 5 pounds (23).
However, while consuming apple cider vinegar, ensure that you dilute it with water as it can erode your teeth’ enamel if consumed undiluted.
16. Drink Green Tea
Green tea is massively popular for its antioxidants and other properties that boost an individual’s immunity.
It contains caffeine and antioxidant EGCG that help in boosting metabolism.
Several studies show that the epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is a catechin that helps lose belly fat.
However, kindly note that your journey on ‘how to lose belly fat’ can only be successful if you link green tea consumption with a regular exercise routine.
17. Keep Sodium Consumption in Check
The recommended amount of sodium is 2300 mg per day, and for the ones with prevailing conditions like hypertension, diabetes, kidney disease, it’s no more than 1500 mg per day.
Sodium found in table salt plays a significant role in maintaining bodily functions.
Excess sodium consumption increases the amount of water your body retains, which can cause you to feel bloated, making you gain weight (24).
18. Dump Processed Foods
Processed food items, including meat, are very high in calories and saturated fats and are your belly bullies.
Not only are they bad for your tummy, but excess consumption of processed food items can also lead to heart disease and stroke (25).
Processed foods ave no nutrients and fiber and only cause more harm to your digestive tract.
Some processed food items to avoid for your ‘how to reduce belly fat’ journey are:
- processed meats
- processed cheese
- frozen food items
- microwave pasta, lasagna, etc.
19. Eat Slowly
One of the crucial steps of eating food is chewing it properly before swallowing, which is the one thing that many individuals avoid.
Eating food slowly and chewing it properly helps reduce your calorie intake, helping you lose weight by making you feel fuller faster (26).
Studies confirmed that chewing every bite for longer helps you lose weight because it allows the brain more time to receive signals from your tummy that it’s full (27).
Note: On average, a total of 32 chews per bite is recommended before swallowing your food.
20. Adopt a Probiotic Life
Probiotics are food items and supplements containing good bacteria that help improve gut health and enhance the body’s immune function.
The Lactobacillus family has shown to reduce belly fat and play a significant role in weight loss.
Some of the food items containing probiotics aiding in your ‘how to lose belly fat’ journey are:
21. Lemon it up!
Vitamin C present in lemon helps prevent and treat respiratory & systemic infections by enhancing multiple immune cell functions.
Try replacing it with lemon water if you’re habitual of having sugary or carbonated drinks with your meals.
Lemon water has also shown to boost metabolism in individuals and has been used to improve digestion.
Note: Many people swear that drinking warm water with honey and lemon in the morning on an empty stomach aided in their weight loss journey.
Here were our top 21 useful tips to aid your ‘how to lose belly fat’ journey. Remember that consistency is the key to anything and everything. These tips won’t miraculously make you lose inches around your waist in a day, but when followed with a strict exercise routine and the right diet, you can do wonders for losing belly fat.