“How do I get rid of this belly fat?” This is easily one of the most common weight loss questions out there. In addition to not making you feel as fit as you’d like to be, belly fat has been linked to various health conditions, particularly heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer.
Is it impossible to lose belly fat? Absolutely not. Will it take some work? Yep.
Also, as you focus on getting fat and shaping up your middle, it’s important to keep a few factors in mind that tend to make burning belly fat more difficult for some people, such as:
- Age – it’s harder to burn fat the older you get
- Childbirth – it can be a challenge to lose weight after giving birth
- Excess calories – extra calories that your body doesn’t need equal weight gain
- Stress – stress hormones have been proven to play a part in the accumulation of fat
Being aware of the above factors can help you be more mindful of everyday habits that can make or break your weight loss success.
First, The Basics
You probably already know these basics: to lose belly fat (or fat in general), you must be regularly active for at least 4-5 days a week. This could mean a brisk walk. This could mean running. This could mean jumping on the elliptical machine. Other effective workouts include interval training workouts, where your movements are varied, as is your heart rate, which experts say is an amazingly powerful way to burn fat more quickly.
In addition to working out regularly, it’s very important to get enough sleep. Sleep resets and replenishes our bodies, and helps to keep the metabolism functional and vital systems regulated. Study after study has shown that people who don’t get as much sleep as they should tend to have more belly fat, and tend to weigh more in general.
Second, The Food
In order to burn fat, you also need to eat right. Check with an expert to help determine how many calories you need to stay healthy and lose weight. This can be your doctor, a nutritionist, or even an expert at a weight loss center. There are also many useful tools you can find online that can help you determine how many calories you need. Just keep in mind that, unless a doctor says otherwise, most people should at least be getting in at least 1200 calories a day. Anything less than that is setting your body up to not function as well as it needs to. Also, eating less than you should can actually sabotage your weight loss goals over time.
This said, what are some of the top foods that are well-known summertime belly fat fighters?
Berries are high in fiber, which can keep you full longer. Plus, they tend to be sweet. This means berries can help satisfy your sweet tooth.
Broth-based soup (not cream-based) is filled with healthy vegetables and water, which fills you up with the fewest possible calories. Plus, since soup is generally hot, you’re forced to take your time eating it. Slow, mindful eating equals less consumed calories and a more satisfactory eating experience.
This includes cold soups – chilled, low-calorie soups like gazpacho or cucumber-dill that contain lots of chunky vegetables are a great way to start a meal. Also, according to research, a low-calorie, broth-based soup at the beginning of the meal will help you eat less overall.
Foods that are high in water content fill you up more thoroughly, Bonci says. Watermelon is a great example of a raw, low-calorie fruit that is both water and nutrient-rich.
In addition, who doesn’t love healthy grilled vegetables? Onions, bell peppers, zucchini, carrots, eggplant, asparagus, and garlic (in addition to so many other options) are delicious and waist-friendly all by themselves, or added to your favorite dishes.
And…don’t forget, crisp, cool salads. Throw in salad greens, fruit, veggies, cheese, nuts, herbs, and a light dressing, and you’re good to go!
That’s right! Summer beverages don’t have to be a calorie nightmare. According to WebMD, here are just a few tasty summer options that you’ll definitely want to try:
- Tart Lemon Pom Spritzer. 12 ounces of lemon sparkling water mixed with the juice of 1 lemon and 1/4 cup pomegranate juice, served over ice
- Large (24-oz.) Ice Skim Latte from Starbucks
- White Wine Spritzer. 5 ounces white wine mixed with 3 ounces lemon/lime seltzer water
One of the best sources of protein is fish. Most fish is low in fat, and the exceptions usually have a healthy form of fat — omega-3 fatty acids, which help protect your heart.
Cookies and cakes and pies? There’s nothing wrong with an occasional, higher-calorie indulgence, but there are SO many other summer-sweet choices that can make that sweet tooth, and waistline, happy. In addition to fruit salads, and simply snacking on your favorite summertime fruits, since you’re already using your grill for those veggies, throw dessert on the grill, too, such as grilling bananas, peaches and pineapple. For an even tastier treat, try putting your grilled fruit on top of low-fat ice cream, and sprinkling on a few nuts, as well as a drizzle of honey, or even your favorite liqueur.