Keep In Mind That Hormones Play A Role
If you’re struggling to lose lower belly fat, underlying hormone imbalances could be playing a role, explains Maritza Worthington, a functional nutritionist who specializes in digestive and hormone health. “In my experience, the top two culprits behind stubborn belly fat have to do with either excess cortisol or estrogen dominance,” she says. “Typically hormone imbalance issues dont happen overnight, and are the result of insulin resistance, malnutrition, lack of exercise and a high stress lifestyle.”
Worthington shares a few pointers:
- Eat regularly and skip the fastingthe body actually stores more belly fat when skipping meals. “This could be because the body experiences higher cortisol/stress from starvation, and as a coping mechanism stores more belly fat , not knowing when the next meal will come,” she says.
- Focus on balanced meals and avoid eating protein or carbs alone. “Theres a reason why your body uses macronutrientsprotein, carbs, & fatsfor optimal fuel. And skipping one of these macronutrients can actually work against your metabolism.”
Bonus Round: Losing Belly Fat After Having A Baby
Its totally normal for your belly to feel loose or jiggly in the early days and weeks after giving birth. In addition to pregnancy weight gain, your abdominal muscles were stretched to the max to accommodate your growing bundle of joy.
Losing belly fat postpartum starts with the same strategies youd use to lose belly fat at any other time: Eat a little less and exercise more.
It may not happen overnight, but its reasonable to be back to your prepregnancy weight by the time your baby reaches their first birthday.
Does that mean your lower belly will look the same as it did before you got pregnant? Not necessarily. For some women, pregnancy causes the abdominal muscles to separate and create a noticeable bulge, even after theyve fully recovered from giving birth.
This condition, called diastasis recti, is fixable with abdominal exercises. A physical therapist can help you get the hang of them. Just ask your healthcare provider for a recommendation they can point you in the right direction.
Including Physical Activity To Reduce Belly Fat
So No There’s Not But Here’s What You Can Do
1. Start simple
Typically there are many things you may need to improve to lose belly fat. But start by focusing on changing or improving just one thing. Then, once you conquer that first objective, you can move on to the next thing, and so on.
2. Target sugar
One good place to begin improving your food choices is to eliminate sugary drinks and not just soda, but juices. Sugar increases belly fat and fiber reduces belly fat thus when you’re juicing fruits, you’re removing the fiber, leaving pure sugar. So one quick fix, a very concrete fix, would be eliminating sugary drinks.
Replacing sugary beverages with water will help dramatically cut down your sugar intake, and then once you’ve taken that step, you can figure out how to cut down on foods that are high in sugar.
If you have a sweet tooth and need to put that final accent to your meal, eat an apple, melon or fresh berries. Just remember, fruit is not a substitute for vegetables.
3. Go Mediterranean
The popular “flat belly diets”embrace much of the wisdom found in eating a Mediterranean diet, which helps everything from brain health to hearth health. The basic premise for both diets is eat foods rich in monosaturated fatty acids that may help reduce your belly fat storage. MUFA-rich foods include olive oil, nuts and seeds, avocodos, and fish. Eating yogurt regularly has also been found to be helpful in reducing belly fat.
4. Front-load your meal
5. Commit to a physical lifestyle
Eat Protein Throughout The Day
Make sure you add protein to your meals. Options include meat, fish, eggs, dairy and beans.
Protein helps keep you feeling satiated, lowers hunger hormone levels and may even help you eat less at your next meal, studies show.
We dont have to be on high protein diets as much as we need to add adequate protein thats spread throughout the day, says Dr. Creel.
Dr. Creel also says you should aim to add protein to your snacks. Thats when we tend to overeat, he notes. Try having a Greek yogurt or string cheese, which can make you feel more satisfied.
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Three Ways To Reduce Belly Fat
How can I lose belly fat? pulls up over two million hits on Google. Its a hot topic that goes beyond wanting to improve appearance. A larger waist measurement can mean that you have too much visceral fat. This is the fat stored around internal organs like your liver and pancreas, which is commonly referred to as belly fat.
Whether youre overweight or not, carrying more fat around your belly is linked to a number of serious health problems, such as:
- heart and circulatory problems
While anyone can have this type of deep visceral fat around their inner organs, its important that you make some changes to get your body into a healthier place.
Embrace High Intensity Exercise
One way to target lower belly fat is to engage in high intensity exercise a couple times a week. But keep in mind that high intensity is a relative term and will be different from person to person. “The key is to create intervals for yourself so that you’re getting your heart rate up high several times during your 30- to 40-minute workout,” Pelc Graca says. “This could mean a HIIT workout, a jog to fast run interval workout, a slow walk to brisk walk interval workout, or any other exercise modality you prefer.”
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You’re Doing Too Much
Your body needs a healthy balance of exercise and rest. And did you know? Doing too much prevents the body from shifting excess fat according to Dr Luke, aka, has the reverse result that you’re after. “Exercising without rest can impact our levels of the steroid hormone cortisol and cause an increase of stubborn fat stored in the belly. Not allowing your body to recover can increase the risk of injury too, so make sure you factor in rest days to your exercise plan.”
Prioritize Sleep As Best You Can
This one seems basic, but clocking some extra Zs can help you lose weight. One 2016 meta-analysis published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutritionlooked at data from 11 studies and found that people who slept 5.5 hours or less every night ended up consuming 385 more calories than those who had seven to 12 hours of shut-eye. People with fewer hours of sleep also ate foods that were not so great for weight loss like junk food.
If you can, strive to get the recommended seven-plus hours of sleep a night.
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Don’t Let Diets Take Over
If you find every spare second is given over to thinking about calories, plans and cutting, then maybe the best thing you can do is to take a break from dieting. Research by the University of Tasmania revealed that people who broke from their diet every two weeks and aimed to just keep their weight stable during that period lost more weight and gained less back when their diets had finished.
Importance Of Cardio For Stomach Weight Loss
Sit-ups and other abdominal exercises help tone the muscles in your stomach, but they don’t get rid of the fat that’s covering them up. For this, you’ll need to lose weight. Getting 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio per week may help with weight loss. Thankfully, exercise-induced weight loss actually appears to preferentially target abdominal fat, according to a study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise in 2003.
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Will My Hormones Influence How Much Belly Fat I Have
During our reproductive life women have less visceral fat than men, but this changes as oestrogen levels fall during midlife and at the menopause. At this stage, testosterone starts to play a more significant role in where women lay down fat, favouring the upper body rather than the hips and thighs, with our proportion of fat to body weight also increasing.
Menopause is not the only time when hormones play an influential role in fat storage. Women diagnosed with the condition PCOS may also be prone to increased intra-abdominal fat storage.
Why Does Belly Fat Usually Form
Weight gain as a whole is a little complicated but belly fat typically forms from consuming too many calories, which causes weight gain, says Keri Gans, R.D., author of The Small Change Diet. That said, you really cant control where fat accumulates in your body. We have practically no control on where that weight goes, Gans says. It usually ends up on our belly or hips and thighs based on ones genetics, sex, and/or age.
Gaining weight quickly raises the odds that youll develop more belly fat, says Jessica Cording, R.D., author of The Little Book of Game-Changers. But different body types are more prone to storing fat tissue around the midsection, she says.
Certain other factors, like not getting enough sleep or being stressed out can also raise your risk of developing more belly fat, Cording says. Higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol has been shown to promote more accumulation of fat tissue around the midsection, she explains.
Incorporate Probiotics Or Probiotic Supplements
According to a 2021 review, certain probiotics can aid in fat loss.
One small 2013 study found that the Lactobacillus amylovorus and Lactobacillus fermentum strains of probiotics were capable of shifting body composition. In other words, these probiotic strains helped study participants lose 3% to 4% of their body fat over six weeks.
If you want to incorporate more probiotic foods into your diet, try eating more:
- Sourdough bread
You can also take probiotic supplements. There are a ton of supplements on the market, so make sure to look into the brands, ingredients, quality, and reviews.
Probiotic supplements also contain different strains, so you’ll want to research which strain is best for your specific needs. Always talk with your physician before taking any new supplements.
Address Unhealthy Stress And Sleep Habits
Stress can lead to poor eating habits and weight gain, especially in the lower belly and upper pubic area. High levels of stress are often associated with a buildup of visceral fat . Stressors like financial concerns or family issues can take a toll, causing people to seek comforting foods, which are usually high in fat, sugar and calories, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
Unfortunately, stress levels can also take a toll on your sleep, causing weight gain or fat retention. Over time, insufficient sleep can inhibit your fat loss and even lead to weight gain, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Lack of sleep also affects your choices, driving you to overeat or pick less healthy foods. Commit to a good night’s sleep by limiting screen time before bed, powering down electronics and making time for seven to nine hours of quiet rest.
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The Truth About Targeting And Fat Loss
Is there actually a way to get rid of fat just around your lower belly? Sadly, the answer is no, you cant target fat on certain areas of your body. Instead, the focus has to be on shedding fat from head to toe.
Spot exercises can strengthen your abdominal muscles, but they wont actually get rid of the fat that sits on top of your abs. For that, youve gotta make an effort to lose weight all over. Heres how.
High Intensity Interval Training And Weight
High intensity interval training is a type of exercise characterized by short bursts of intense exercise followed by a brief rest before repeating this cycle. HIIT can be done with cardio or resistance training exercises and provides the benefits of both .
Most HIIT workouts are only 1020 minutes long, but they offer some powerful benefits in regard to weight loss.
One 2017 review of 13 high quality studies found that HIIT and cardio exercise provided similar benefits namely, reduced body fat and waist circumference for people with overweight and obesity.
However, HIIT exercise achieved these same benefits with a 40% time savings compared to cardio .
Because of the intensity of HIIT, you should consult a healthcare professional before starting a new HIIT routine, especially if you have known heart concerns.
Youve probably heard that physical exertion is a good way to work up an appetite, or maybe you even found yourself eating more than usual after a vigorous workout.
However, most research points to exercise having an appetite suppression effect.
One study in 20 active, healthy adults noted that they ate more food in the meal prior to a workout than after and actually found that, overall, participants ate less food on the days they exercised than the days they didnt .
In another study in 26 women with obesity on low calorie diets, researchers found that short HIIT sessions had a strong appetite suppressing effect .
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Consider Weight Loss Pills
It sounds like a dream. Keep living like you already do, take a daily pill, and effortlessly lose your excess weight. This is why weight loss medicines are a billion dollar industry.
So do they work? Yes, somewhat. But the majority are not as effective as you might think and they may come with significant side effects.
Most available drugs result in modest weight loss , sometimes at the expense of bothersome side effects. More recent medications offer greater weight loss, up to 10 or even 15% of body weight, but in order to maintain any weight loss benefit you receive, you must continue the drug indefinitely.97 Thats right if you stop the drug, you will likely regain the weight you lost, plus extra if your weight was already on an upward trajectory before starting the drug.
Go For High Intensity Intervals
Any type of exercise can help you torch more calories and burn more fat. But high intensity intervals can be particularly potent.
Why? Alternating between hard and easy seems to help keep your insulin levels lower. That can encourage your body to use up fat instead of squirreling it away in your cells for the future.
Youll also keep burning more calories even after you finish a workout. Best of all, you can turn almost any workout into HIIT.
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Cardio Exercises For Side Fat
According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, healthy adults should perform 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise per week to maintain a healthy weight. You’ll likely need to aim higher than those recommendations to lose overall body weight with your love handle workouts.
You can do any kind of cardio you choose, including biking, hiking, swimming, jogging or even brisk walking. Keep in mind that more intense exercises burn more calories, so you may lose weight faster if you can incorporate tougher activities into your workouts.
Flavor Your Food With Garlic
A little garlic in your meals could mean a lot less weight around your middle. The results of a Korean study found that mice given a high-fat diet supplemented with garlic lost significantly more weight and abdominal fat than those who just ate fatty foods. Even better, they also improved their liver health, making it easier to stay healthy and burn off that excess fat in the long term. For more flavorful ways to make your food more enjoyable, turn to the metabolism-boosting spicy recipes and watch those pounds melt away.
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