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How to get rid of belly fat

Lets discuss how to tackle that stubborn fat that so many people struggle with...

Fat loss seems easy in theory doesn’t it. Just eat the right foods and exercise regularly and magically all your fat falls off in all the right places.


Right?


If only it was that simple. If you were to ask anyone what part of the body, they would most like to lose weight from, the most common response would be ‘my stomach’ or ‘my belly.’ So why is this? Well, this area of fat is known to be very stubborn and difficult to shift as while the rest of the body may be slimming down, ‘belly fat’ likes to stick around for as long as possible.



Loose stomach fat today
How to get rid of belly fat


So how do you get rid of this stubborn belly fat?

YOUR DIET.


If you’ve heard it once you’ve probably heard it about 1000 times, but your diet is one of the most influential factors when it comes to fat loss. To shed that unwanted fat, it’s an 80/20 balance meaning that 80% of your fat loss results comes from your diet and 20% comes from the exercise you’re doing.


4 belly fat burner tips


1. Protein, Protein, Protein

Having a diet rich in protein is known to keep you fuller for longer and therefore reduce your cravings for sugary, high calorie snacks throughout the day. Increased protein intake and protein quality of the diet is known to reduce abdominal fat in individuals meaning if you consume more protein rich sources such as protein eggs, fish, legumes, nuts, meat and dairy daily you should reach your protein goal and hopefully see a difference in no time. [4]


Here are some handy snacks that are high in protein to take with you to curb those hunger pangs

  • mixed nuts

  • cottage cheese on rice cake

  • high protein yoghurt

  • tuna on crackers

2. Cut down on refined carbohydrates

Carbohydrates get a bad rep with most people believing that cutting out carbs is the only answer when it comes to making them lose weight and fat combined. This is simply not true. Sugar and refined carbohydrates spike insulin levels which signals the body to store fat which means that foods such as white bread, pasta, white rice and sugary breakfast cereals should be limited. [1] Fruit, vegetables and wholegrains should be consumed instead as these can help reduce belly fat and improve metabolic health. Having more complex carbohydrates that are high in fiber such as quinoa, wholegrain cous cous , brown rice , bulgar wheat and legumes will help stabilise those insulin levels.


3. Increase your intake of fibre

Fibre is often neglected when trying to get rid of that stubborn fat and it shouldn’t be. Eating more soluble fibre slows down how fast the stomach releases digested food into the gut and therefore decreases appetite and creates the feeling of fullness. [6] To incorporate more soluble fibre into your diet you should try to include beans, citrus fruits, oats, peas and apples (with the skin) in your diet more frequently.

4. Stay Hydrated

It is important to drink plenty of water when trying to burn fat as not only is it an appetite suppressor but in order for fat molecules to break down you need to keep your body hydrated to do so. It is important to drink fluids such as water and green tea instead of sugary beverages as these sugary drinks promote the growth of belly fat rather than banish it. [5]


What exercise is best to banish belly fat?

There are many ways to incorporate physical activity into your lifestyle but not all types are equal when it comes to banishing belly fat. So, what types of exercise are best to do this?

  • Aerobic exercise- Cardio exercises such as cycling, running, swimming and walking are great low intensity methods that can be done over a longer duration to help reduce belly fat.

  • HITT workouts- This incorporates short bursts of high intensity exercise followed by rest periods. This type of training keeps your heart rate up and burns more fat in less time.

  • Resistance training- Weight training can be used to build muscle mass and having more muscle can help you burn more fat.

  • Abdominal exercises- Doing abdominal exercises won’t automatically give you abs but they can help tone and flatten the area and these are easy exercises to incorporate into a healthy lifestyle.



Sleep is crucial!

Did you know that by not getting enough sleep you could be increasing your belly fat rather than reducing it? [3]

So, why is this? A lack of sleep elevates the hormone ghrelin which increases the feeling of hunger and decreases the hormone leptin which increases satiety (feeling full.) Getting good quality sleep of a sufficient duration is important to control hunger and assist in getting rid of belly fat.

Not only is sleep an influencing factor when it comes to getting rid of belly fat, but stress is known to increase belly fat accumulation.

Being stressed is normal and everyone can be stressed sometimes but prolonged stress can be an issue. When you are stressed, your body releases the hormone cortisol. [2] If you’re constantly stressed it leads to increased blood sugar levels which makes cortisol levels rise which increases belly fat. Too much cortisol is an issue as it affects fat distribution and causes fat to be stored around the stomach rather than in other parts of the body. So in simplest terms the more you’re stressed, the more cortisol your body produces and the more fat you store around your belly.

So, what to remember…

Belly fat is a hard area of fat to shift. It requires nutrition, exercise and other influencing factors such as sleep and stress to be under control and managed to achieve results. It’s important to remember that there is no ‘quick fix’ but with time you should hopefully start to see the results you are looking for.


At Nutrition and Co, our team of expert dietitian's and personal trainers, are not only highly trained, they provide accountability and support for your body composition goals.

We provide optimal support for all our clients. Enquire today about our various weight management options and get the support you deserve.




References

  1. Bradley, P., (2019) Refined carbohydrates, phenotypic plasticity and the obesity epidemic. Medical Hypotheses, 131, p.109317.


  1. Çay, M., (2017) The Effect of Cortisol Level Increasing Due to Stress in Healthy Young Individuals on Dynamic and Static Balance Scores. Northern Clinics of Istanbul, [online] 54. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6371989/.



  1. Covassin, N., Singh, P., McCrady-Spitzer, S.K., St Louis, E.K., Calvin, A.D., Levine, J.A. and Somers, V.K., (2022) Effects of Experimental Sleep Restriction on Energy Intake, Energy Expenditure, and Visceral Obesity. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 7913, pp.1254–1265.


  1. Loenneke, J.P., Wilson, J.M., Manninen, A.H., Wray, M.E., Barnes, J.T. and Pujol, T.J., (2012) Quality protein intake is inversely related with abdominal fat. Nutrition & Metabolism, 91, p.5.


  1. Ma, J., Sloan, M., Fox, C.S., Hoffmann, U., Smith, C.E., Saltzman, E., Rogers, G.T., Jacques, P.F. and McKeown, N.M., (2014) Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption Is Associated with Abdominal Fat Partitioning in Healthy Adults. The Journal of Nutrition, 1448, pp.1283–1290.


  1. Salleh, S.N., Fairus, A.A.H., Zahary, M.N., Bhaskar Raj, N. and Mhd Jalil, A.M., (2019) Unravelling the Effects of Soluble Dietary Fibre Supplementation on Energy Intake and Perceived Satiety in Healthy Adults: Evidence from Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomised-Controlled Trials. Foods, 81, p.15.


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