Belly fat is no fun. And here’s the other bad news. It is the hardest fat to lose, and it is a definite health risk. It increases the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
If you have belly fat, you want to get to work on it right away. Here are our top tips for getting it off (and, if you have fat in other places too, it will come off as well).
1. Eat Soluble Fiber
Here’s the thing about this type of fiber – it absorbs water and forms a gel. Digestion is slowed as a result, and you will feel fuller longer. Studies have also shown that it fights belly fat as well. Examples of soluble fiber are avocados, flax seeds, brussels sprouts, and blackberries.
2. Cut the Trans Fats
These are primarily housed in margarines and other spreads, but are also added to other foods. Read the labels. Sometimes, they are termed “partially hydrogenated oils.” In animal studies, increased amounts of trans fat in a diet have caused as much as 33% more belly fat.
3. Curb Alcohol Intake
It is not so much whether you drink every day; it’s the amount you drink. Heavy drinking is associated with middle fat storage. Limit yourself to one drink a day.
4. Increase Protein Intake
First of all, protein will make you feel full, by releasing PYY, often called the “fullness” hormone. Protein will also increase your metabolism. Eat good sources of protein – lean meat, fish, eggs, and nuts.
5. Reduce Sugars
This is a no-brainer – sugar turns to fat in your body. But don’t think that just reducing refined sugar will do the trick. Watch fruit and fruit juice intake too. Even honey, which has good sugar, should be used moderately.
5. Cut The refined Carbs
Refined carbs are the worst (White pasta and white breads). Make your carbs whole grains – studies have shown that you will gain less belly fat with whole grains.
6. Drink Green Tea
Green tea is a great antioxidant, but studies have shown that, when combined with exercise, it can help reduce belly fat.
7. Increase Omega-3 Fats
These are good fats and they will help expel the bad fat. They are found in “fatty” fish – salmon, anchovies, herring, mackerel, and sardines. Aim for 2-3 servings a week.
It’s not all about diet. There are three other things you can do to shred that stubborn belly fat:
You need to burn calories, and this is the way to do it. Run, swim, take aerobics classes. Aim for 300 minutes a week, but work up gradually if you are a “newbie.”
Weight-lifting is really effective, especially when combined with aerobic exercise. If you are a newbie, get professional advice, from a reputable trainer.
Get Enough Sleep
Studies show that sleep has a direct relationship to weight, Again, studies, primarily with women, show that getting only 5 hours of sleep at night will increase belly fat accumulation. The reasons may be multiple, but the results are the same. Shoot for 7 hours a night.
We all hate to see fat start to accumulate. And as we grow older, the problem is exacerbated. While prevention is the best method, if you have not been “good,” start now – you can get it off.