While your belly fat won’t go away immediately with exercise, you can reduce it further with a calorie deficit.
Therefore, avoid refined sugars and carbohydrates, processed foods, and sugary drinks, including alcohol.
With this, you can achieve a healthy weight loss of half a pound to a pound per week through diet and exercise.
Even if you want a quick fix, there really isn’t a way to lose belly fat right away. Belly fat is often difficult to reduce because it is different from other types of fat. The part you can see and pinch is called subcutaneous fat, and it’s just under the skin. The abdomen also contains visceral fat, which surrounds the internal organs inside the abdominal walls.
“A healthy level of visceral fat benefits your health,” says Maricris Lapaix. She is a personal trainer and nutritionist. Too much visceral fat, on the other hand, is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and other health problems. Therefore, it is important to lose belly fat.
Can you lose belly fat in a week?
There are many diets and trends that promise to reduce belly fat in days – it’s unrealistic and unhealthy. In terms of exercise, abdominal exercises can help you tone your belly, but you still need to lose weight in general to significantly reduce belly fat.
Since you can’t control where the body loses weight and fat, you need to reduce overall body fat. “The best way to lose belly fat is to lead an active lifestyle, eat a balanced diet, and keep stress levels low,” says Lapaix.
Important: Drastic measures to lose weight can lead to unhealthy eating habits. Before making any major changes to your diet or lifestyle, it is important that you consult your GP or nutritionist for advice.
Below are foods and exercises that can help you lose belly fat. You will also know when you can expect the first results.
What foods help you lose belly fat?
In order to lose overall body fat, you must be in a calorie deficit. This means that you burn more calories than you consume.
“It’s important to reduce your intake of foods high in trans fats, refined carbohydrates, and highly processed foods with added sugars,” Lapaix says. However, skipping food groups to burn belly fat is only a temporary fix. The real key to long-term belly fat loss is eating an individualized, balanced diet that you can maintain for the long term, she says.
Here are the foods to avoid when trying to lose belly fat:
- Sugary drinks: High consumption of beverages such as soft drinks, sports drinks, specialty coffees and sodas has been linked to weight gain due to excess added sugars.
- alcohol: Heavy alcohol consumption increases the risk of weight gain and obesity. Beer is high in calories and carbohydrates and has been linked to overall weight gain. You may have heard the term “beer belly,” although the notion that beer just gets bigger around the waist is largely wrong. However, this leads to overall weight gain, which in turn can lead to more belly fat.
- Refined grain and sweet products: Foods like cereals, bagels and donuts have a higher glycemic index than fruits and vegetables. This means they can raise blood sugar levels. A diet consisting of these foods has been linked to weight gain and should therefore be avoided, as sugary foods can easily lead to obesity.
- fast food: Due to larger portions and poor nutritional value, fast food has been associated with weight gain and poorer success in maintaining weight loss. A small 2018 study of 300 college students showed that eating fast foods, such as pizza and fried chicken, was linked to obesity and specifically excess belly fat.
- Processed meat: Meat consumption is associated with higher intake of saturated fat and total calories, which contributes to weight gain. You should limit the consumption of processed meats such as smoked pork, sausages, ham and bacon.
- High calorie bars: Avoid candy bars and energy bars as they are often low in nutrients and high in sugar, fat and calories. Even granola bars and protein bars can be unhealthy if they’re high in sugar and calories, so check the nutrition facts before you buy to see how much fat and sugar is in the product.
These foods promote the reduction of belly fat:
- Foods high in protein: Foods like chicken, turkey, legumes, nuts, whole eggs, fish, and dairy products are great sources of protein that will keep you feeling full longer. They also help you lose weight because a high protein diet requires more energy for digestion, which in turn burns body fat.
- High Fiber Foods: Consuming plenty of fiber helps with weight control and promotes weight loss. You should therefore eat more fiber-rich foods like almonds, oats, prunes, berries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and green beans. Eating fiber-rich fruits and vegetables is also associated with weight loss.
- the water: Drinking enough water boosts metabolism, which also aids in weight loss. Lemon water can help with weight loss, especially when used as a substitute for sugary drinks. However, it has no proven additional benefits over plain water.
- full flower: Most people consume excessive amounts of refined grains, such as white bread or white rice. However, to reduce and control body weight, it is far better to eat a diet rich in whole grains such as wheat, brown rice, barley, oats and rye.
“It’s crucial to eat a sustainable diet and learn which foods work for you in the long term, rather than just looking for a ‘quick fix,'” says Lapaix.
Which exercises burn the most abdominal fat?
You can’t control where you gain or lose weight. Sometimes called “targeted weight loss” (aka point reduction), this approach isn’t realistic, Lapix says. For example, abdominal exercises alone are not enough to get rid or reduce belly fat. “While you often hear about exercise programs targeting specific areas, you can’t pick and choose which areas you lose weight in,” says Lapaix.
For example, resistance training focuses on building muscle by lifting weights or using equipment like resistance bands. Aerobic exercise, on the other hand, focuses on burning calories through endurance exercises like running or jumping rope. “A mix of resistance and endurance training is beneficial for increasing overall body strength and helps reduce body fat,” says Lapaix.
Additionally, increasing muscle mass (the percentage of your body that is made up of muscle) increases the number of calories your body naturally burns. This is also known as basal metabolic rate. Therefore, you should do exercises that use the whole body and strengthen the muscles. They are best suited for reducing belly fat.
These exercises effectively burn belly fat:
- overhead squat
- Lateral crawling movements
- Sprinter pulls
Results don’t come immediately, so consistency is key. Also, you shouldn’t immediately jump into really intense workouts if you haven’t trained before, Lapix says. She recommends gradually increasing the intensity of workouts to avoid injury.
How fast can you really lose belly fat?
By reducing overall body fat, belly fat is also reduced. However, this process does not happen overnight or a few days after you start losing weight. “Healthy weight loss is half a pound to a pound a week,” Lapaix said.
As a 2019 study showed, losing 6-7% of total body weight can reduce both subcutaneous and visceral fat. This means that if you weigh 82 pounds, it may take 6-12 weeks to lose that percentage of your total body weight while reducing belly fat.
However, “there are many factors to consider when determining body composition, including age, gender, current weight, body fat, and muscle mass, to name a few- one,” says Lapaix. “These affect how quickly a person can lose weight, what diet they should follow, and the appropriate level of activity.”
The combination of exercise and a healthy diet is more effective than either of these factors alone. But other practices can also help reduce belly fat:
- Intermittent fasting
- Self-monitoring, such as keeping a daily food diary
- Don’t skip breakfast
- Sufficient sleep
According to Lapaix, higher stress levels can also cause body fat to be stored. So find healthy ways to manage stress and avoid unhealthy behaviors like smoking and drinking.
What we learn
Belly fat isn’t just a cosmetic problem — excess visceral fat can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and other health problems. To reduce belly fat, therefore, you need to exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, and keep your stress levels low. In order to lose belly fat, you need to reduce overall body fat. It may take several weeks before you see the first visible results.
Drastic weight loss measures are not long-lasting and only bring temporary results, says Lapaix. Ineffective dieting or sudden intense exercise are not lasting ways to fight weight loss. “Maintaining lifestyle changes with small, gradual changes in diet and physical activity also helps reduce stress levels. This increases the likelihood that a person will stick with all stages of their health and wellness journey,” says Lapaix.
This article was translated from English and edited by Ilona Tomić. It first appeared in March 2021 and has been verified again. You can read the original here.