How to Reduce Belly Fat
by Andrew Warner
Belly fat is associated with many health issues and diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. Specifically it’s the deepest layer of belly fat that poses health risks. That’s because these “visceral” fat cells actually produce hormones and other substances that can affect your health. There are many dangerous and ineffective gimmicks about how to lose belly fat. While there is no “magic bullet” that will target abdominal fat in particular, this article will explain what causes an expanding waistline and how you can make that spare tire go away.
Here’s 5 things you can do to reduce belly fat:
It might seem counterproductive to eat if you’re trying to lose weight, but studies show that eating breakfast within an hour of waking up keeps your insulin levels steadier and your LDL cholesterol levels lower.
Research indicates that the secretion of cortisol (a hormone your body produces during times of stress) is correlated with an increase in belly fat. Some strategies for combating everyday stress:
- Most people need at least 7 hours of sleep every night. Stop using screens, such as computers and tablets, thirty minutes before bedtime to ensure the best quality of sleep.
- Set aside time to relax. Even if it’s only 15 minutes on your lunch break, find time to simply close your eyes, breathe deeply, and forget your worries.
- Keep anything that stresses you away from where you sleep as much as is practically possible.
- Keep your work space and bedroom separate. Resolve to leave your worries behind as soon as you step into your bedroom.
Aim to take 10,000 steps a day.
In one study where men reduced their daily steps from about 10,000 to less than 1,500 (without changing their diet), their visceral (belly) fat increased by 7% after just 2 weeks.
- Try to walk everywhere within a reasonable distance. Walk to work, school, or the grocery store if possible.
- Get a pedometer and try to increase the number of daily steps you take.
- Take stairs instead of elevators; walk instead of driving.
- Stand up and walk for 30 steps every 30 minutes. If you have a sedentary job, consider getting a treadmill desk or stand-up desk.
Switch out refined grains for whole grains.
In a scientific study, people who ate all whole grains (in addition to five servings of fruits and vegetables, three servings of low-fat dairy, and two servings of lean meat, fish, or poultry) lost more belly fat than another group that ate the same diet, but with all refined grains.
- Whole grains are high in fiber, which makes you feel full longer. This will help you eat less, which will help you lose weight.
- Avoid white grains. For instance, eat brown wheat bread instead of over-processed white bread, and favor wild brown rice over white rice.
Drink plenty of water.
Studies suggest that consistently drinking water throughout the day can lead to a more active metabolism, regardless of dieting. Drinking more water also helps your body flush out waste/toxins and improves your overall health.
- Aim to drink an 8-oz. glass of water 8 times per day, or 64 ounces total.
- Carry a water bottle so that you can drink whenever you feel thirsty.
- Know how to tell when you’re sufficiently hydrated. You’ll know you’re drinking enough water when your urine runs light yellow or almost clear. If it’s darker than a post-it note, drink more.
- Significantly reduce alcohol, sugary drinks (like sweet tea, Kool Aide, fruit punch, fruit juice, Coke, 7-Up, and Pepsi.), and carbonated beverages.