5 Keys to Losing Belly Fat
Many people struggle to lose excess weight – especially the stubborn fat that accumulates around the belly. Some approach weight loss by changing their diet but are not that interested in stepping up the exercise. Others are willing to spend hours at the gym, but are hard pressed to give up the junk food. According to Harvard Medical School, it takes a lifestyle change that incorporates fewer calories, higher quality food and increased exercise to successfully lose weight and keep it off.
There are No Miracles
As disheartening as it may be, the truth is that there are no miracle foods, diets or exercise plans that target belly fat. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. It just might take some dedication and time. If you want to get rid of your spare tire, try following these five no-nonsense tips that work:
1. Decrease your calorie intake. There’s no way around this one. Many people try to reach their daily deficit through exercise without modifying their diet, but 9 out of 10 people will fail using this strategy alone. It simply takes too much time and effort to burn the excess calories that you consume. The best approach is to learn to eat less. Start with reducing your calories by 200 or 300 a day. Over time, you‘ll get used to it and you won’t feel hungry anymore.
2. Increase your fiber. Study after study has confirmed that consuming fiber-rich foods such as legumes, vegetables and low-glycemic fruit enables you to lose stubborn belly fat more easily. Fortunately, most of these foods are low in calories and will help you feel full.
3. Address the stress. Stress is your enemy when you’re trying to lose belly fat. Chronic stress causes an overabundance of the hormone cortisol which, in turn, causes fat storage around the mid-section. Stress can also cause you to become emotional and overeat without even realizing it. Practice not overreacting to everyday annoyances. Stay calm at all times and surround yourself with positive people. If you find that you’re overly stressed, the best thing to do is exercise. Take your dog for a walk, do yoga or lift weights. There’s no better way to get a handle on life’s nerve-racking events.
4. Get adequate rest. A 5-year sleep study showed that people who were not sleep-deprived had less belly fat than those who were. So relax and get good sleep every night. Adults need at least 7 hours each night.
5. Aim for 10,000 steps a day. In one study, a group of active men were asked to not change their diets but reduce their steps from 10,000 to about 1,500 – the approximate number of steps that sedentary people take a day. Within two weeks, the group had an average increase in belly fat of 7 percent. Bet a pedometer to record your steps. They’re very inexpensive and are a great way to track your progress.