Belly fat is one of the things many struggles to lose.
This is especially true for women after menopause. That’s when many women tend to experience shifts in the area they carry their body fat.
Often times, fat begins to accumulate in the abdomen more than anywhere else.
To top it off, belly fat is not just an aesthetic issue. It causes far more harm to your body than any other body fats.
Excess abdominal fat namely visceral fat carries serious health risks.
Residing so close to vital organs, cancer, high blood pressure and such are just a few that can come out of it.
But here is the good news.
You can reduce your belly fat, lower your health risks, and even get a flat tummy.
So how do you reduce belly fat and flatten your tummy?
Before we get into it, let’s see what causes belly fat.
What Causes Belly Fat?
Belly fat like any other fat in your body is determined by the number of calories that goes in and out of your body.
If you eat too much of the wrong foods and exercise too little, you’re likely to gain weight – including belly fat.
However, other factors like age also play a role.
As you age, muscle mass lessens. This muscle loss leads to slower metabolism where you burn fewer calories.
Inevitably, this makes your body more prone to gaining weight and belly fat.
And women, in particular, are more prone to gaining weight in the belly as they age. This is likely due to decreased estrogen. It’s a hormone that appears to influence where fat gets distribute in your body.
Another belly fat contributor is your body type. More apple type people gain weight around the waist.
To sum it all, several different factors like age, genes, and lifestyle influence belly fat.
While you can’t change your age or genes, lifestyle is something you can take control. And that includes exercise and healthy eating.
So that’s what we’ll focus on in this post.
Reducing Belly Fat
Belly fat is actually made up of two types of fat: Subcutaneous Fat and Visceral Fat.
Subcutaneous Fat: This is the fat you can pinch. This outer fat is right under the skin, on top of your muscles.
Visceral Fat: This type of fat exists in the abdominal cavity and covered by the internal organs. It’s the most dangerous fat in your body.
Because this fat lives by the organs, visceral is far more dangerous. Here are several health problems linked with visceral fat:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Breast cancer
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
Just to name a few.
Research has also associated belly fat with an increased risk of premature death. In fact, some studies have found that being at a healthy weight does not equate to having any health threats. A large waistline can up the risk of heart disease.
Measuring Belly Fat
A way to determine if you have belly fat is measuring your waist circumference.
To measure your waist:
Stand and place a tape measure around your bare stomach, right above your hipbone.
Pull the tape measure until it fits snugly around you.
If your tape is pushing into your skin, it’s too tight.
Also, make sure the tape measure is level all the way around.
Relax, exhale, and measure your waist, resisting the urge to suck in your stomach.
For women, more than 35 inches or 89 cm indicates an unhealthy level of belly fat. It means you may be at risk of varying health issues.
You can also use our hip-to-waist ratio belly fat calculator.
Trimming Your Tummy Fat
The “best way to lose belly fat” is by exercising and basing your diet around belly fat fighting foods.
In fact, it’s not so much about doing 100 crunches to lose belly fat.
Their effectiveness is intoning the abs muscles. Reducing belly fat, not so much.
To reduce belly fat, especially visceral fat, you need a diet and exercise plan that rids of extra weight and fat. In other words, your approach shouldn’t be about spot reducing your tummy fat.
It’s far more effective following a plan to lose your weight and drop your body fat percentage. Your belly fat will come down with it naturally.
So let’s take a look at the diet and exercise plan.
To battle belly fat:
1. Eat a Healthy Diet
Focus your diet on plant-based foods. Those are vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Also, include lean sources of protein like fish and healthy fats like avocado.
You also need to limit sugar, especially the added sugar and unhealthy saturated fat.
For your fat intake, focus on monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. They are often found in nuts, seeds, and fish.
Replace sugary beverages with water or other drinks with detox effects.
2. Keep Portions in Check
Even when you’re making healthy choices, calories add up. At home, slim down your portions. At restaurants, share meals — or eat half of your meal and take the rest home.
3. Add Exercise
For most adults, moderate aerobic activity is recommended.
Whether it’s brisk walking for 2.5 hours or high-intensity workout for 75 minutes a week, adding in fitness helps.
If we go by steps, it, in fact, takes 10,000 steps to prevent weight gain.
Pair your aerobics with strength training exercises. Twice a week is a good start, but if you want to lose more weight, you might need to exercise more.
To lose excess fat and keep it from coming back, aim for slow and steady weight loss — up to 2 pounds (1 kilogram) a week. Consult your doctor for help getting started and staying on track.
4. Exercise Your Abs
It’s true. Cardio and eating a healthy diet are two main pillars for getting a flatter tummy.
But if you want your abdomen muscles to look toned, you have to train them.
Your abs are just like any other muscles in your body.
To get definitions, you have to exercise them.
Ab muscles include rectus abdominals, external and internal obliques. Targeting them all is the key to building tones abs and getting a flat stomach.
However, abs exercises alone are not adequate to reduce belly fat.
You need an exercise plan that goes beyond spot training.
The best plan is the one that combines abdominal exercises with cardio.
For example, do abs exercises several times a week and do cardio a few times a week. It helps you burn the most amount of calories while building muscle mass and getting toned.
Crunches, planks, and bridges are most effective strengthening exercises for your abs. Add them to your regular routine for flatter abs.
There are no magic diet pills for belly fat.
Losing weight including belly fat takes efforts and real, consistent lifestyle changes. Adopting the tips and habits in this post can help your body burn up extra pounds and belly fat.
Together, they’ll make trimming fat around your waist easier.