Belly fat, or visceral fat, is an especially harmful type of fat that sits around your organs. The first 2 weeks of belly fat loss are the most important, because changes to diet and exercise can result in relatively large weight loss in a short time. Learn the truth about how the body stores and removes belly fat, then adjust your lifestyle for maximum fat reduction.
Debunking Belly Fat Myths
Don’t try to isolate the stomach muscles. Belly fat, like other body fat, cannot be spot reduced. Body fat will need to be removed with a combination of diet and exercise from all areas of your body where it is stored.
Don’t starve yourself. Eating too little will tell your body to go into fat storage mode, so eat breakfast, healthy snacks and fresh meals. Women should not eat less than 1,500 calories per day, while men should not eat less than 1,700 calories.
Focus on more than diet and exercise. Even though these are essential parts of the equation, sleep and stress play crucial roles in reducing belly fat. Little sleep and high stress, tell your body to produce cortisol hormone, which tells your body to store fat in your mid-section.
Refuse to base your actions on a cleanse or liquid diet. Cleanses are usually only effective for weight loss when combined with a healthy diet, while liquid diets do not give you the nutrients you need for lasting weight loss. Choose to change your eating habits to fresh produce, lean protein and whole grains instead.
Don’t expect even weight loss. You are going to lose more inches on your belly in the first 2 weeks than subsequent weeks if you stay dedicated to a weight loss routine. If you are at least 15 lbs. (6.8 kg) over your ideal weight, you should see significant results in the first 2 weeks and belly reduction may be harder afterward.
Remember that not all fat is the same. Belly fat that is stored around your organs is called visceral fat, and it increases your chances of diabetes, heart disease and cancer. If you store fat in your thighs, buttocks or arms, scientists believe it may be more healthy for you than a “beer belly.”
Eat more protein. Ideally, all your proteins should be lean, such as egg whites, fish, chicken or cuts of red meat with very little marbling or fat. Protein requires more energy for your body to digest it and it builds muscle.
Eat more of the right kinds of foods. Replace white breads, pastas, fatty meats and sugars with fruits and vegetables. Your plate may be more full than it was before, as long 1/2 to 2/3 of the meal is vegetables.
Go shopping each Sunday. Shop along the perimeter of the grocery store and shop for produce with a wide variety of colors. For the next 2 weeks, only buy whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean proteins.
Replace your processed grains with whole grains. However, instead of simply buying whole wheat bread, eat quinoa, oatmeal, apples, bananas, flax and wild rice. These fiber sources appear to help digestion, flush the system and help with fat reduction.
Choose vigorous exercise. When it comes to burning body fat, not every exercise is created equal. For the next 2 weeks, choose high-intensity workouts like running, swimming laps, road cycling, rowing or boot camp over easy to moderate exercise.
Do strength training 6 times in the next 2 weeks. This works out to 3 times a week, every other day. Start with 4 to 5 lb. (1.8 to 2.3 kg) free weights and move up to 7 lbs. (3.2 kg) if you are comfortable with it.
Do high-intensity interval training (HIIT). This means you incorporate the act of sprinting during your cardio session for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Give yourself 2 to 4 minutes between sprints. Remember to include a 5-minute warm up and cool down where you remain at an easy to moderate intensity during your workout.
Do cardio for at least 30 minutes. You usually burn carbohydrates until you hit the 20-minute mark and start to reduce your fat stores. For bigger weight loss, extend your high-intensity training to 45 minutes 5 times per week over the next 2 weeks.
Try a core class. Pilates, barre, core burning classes and some yoga styles focus on building your stomach and back muscles. Building these muscles through special exercises, in addition to weightlifting, will help you burn more fat each week.