How To Lose Belly Fat?
Causes, Exercises, Dietary Changes & Lifestyle Changes
Are you trying to get rid of the stubborn mass of fat accumulated on your belly? Do you also find it hard? Well, now it’ll not be a problem anymore. Belly fat is, for some people, the hardest to lose, and for some, it might be easy to shed but in both cases workout and a proper diet regime are necessary.
Belly fat is not only less attractive but also may increase the risk of certain chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, heart diseases, etc. belly fat is more common in women especially post-menopausal and people whose work involves long hours of sitting. Let’s dig into the details of the topic!
What is belly fat?
Have you ever noticed someone who doesn’t look fat at first look but has a round tummy? That’s belly fat. Belly fat is both subcutaneous and visceral fat accumulated in your abdomen.
Subcutaneous fat is the layer of fat under your skin and visceral fat is the fat accumulated between your organs. Visceral fat is harder to lose and poses more health risks than subcutaneous fat.
Measure the belly fat
The easiest way to measure belly fat is by measuring waist circumference. You take a measuring tape and wrap it around your waist starting from the naval or belly button with your tummy muscles relaxed. This method is not quite accurate to judge whether you’re fat or not. But if you read 35 on the tape, you ARE fat and it poses many risks to your health.
Another method is waist to hip ratio. This is the more accurate and equally easy method. You measure the waist and hip circumference the same way. The hip circumference is measured at the biggest point. Then divide waist circumference to hip circumference, if the result is greater than 0.9 it means fat is building up in your abdomen.
Other more complex methods involve heavy and complicated equipment like DEXA, hydrometry, Air-Displacement Plethysmography, densitometry, etc.
Causes of belly fat
Unhealthy dietary pattern
The primary cause of belly fat is an unhealthy dietary pattern. Loads of sugar and fried foods are tasty yet most unhealthy. Besides that, a higher carbohydrate ratio also causes weight gain.
Lack of physical activity
When it comes to belly fat nine-to-five jobs are a famous culprit. We blame long sitting hours at the workplace but won’t move a bit to exercise. This contributes a lot to gaining stubborn belly fat particularly.
Stress and insomnia
Stress and disturbed sleep patterns affect dietary patterns adversely. People tend to eat more during stress and the stress hormone cortisol causes the excess calories to store around belly organs.
Genetics also play a role in causing obesity but it is not a valid excuse. But it can be prevented by taking a little extra care.
Smoking and alcohol abuse
Too much alcohol consumption and smoking can also lead to getting a rounder belly. Alcohol consumption is also related to the prevalence of fatty liver disease and also causes fat accumulation in the abdomen.
- Heart diseases
- Various cancers
Dietary changes to reduce belly fat
Proper dietary routine
Eating your meals timely and following a good diet regime is vital for reducing belly fat. A good breakfast soon after the sun rises followed by healthy snacking and fiber-filled lunch later on is recommended. A dinner not later than an hour before bedtime.
A sweet tooth can lead to a round belly. Dessert is the tastiest part of the meal for many but chooses it wisely. Skip it sometimes or sometimes take a fruit. Sweets are rich in sugar which means excessive carbohydrates and unhealthy weight gain. These excess carbohydrates are stored in the subcutaneous fat or visceral fat.
Perfect ratios of protein, carbohydrates, and fats mean a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. The plate must be consisting more protein and fewer carbohydrates and fats. You may not cut off the desserts from your life but try to manage them.
Include high-fiber foods
High-fiber foods e.g. fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, are an integral component of your diet. Fiber makes you feel fuller for a longer duration and you tend to eat less if you start your meal with a fresh salad right from your kitchen garden. That’s the trick folks!
Lifestyle changes to reduce belly fat
As discussed above, making small changes in your diet can help you overset the stubborn fat in your body. A plate containing a major portion based on salad, along with ample lean protein, provided by low-fat meat cuts, or pulses or beans and carbohydrates, that is the bread, cereal, or rice, with a dash of fat or oil only to enhance palatability. A balanced diet is key to a healthy body. And a healthy body is neither too fat, nor too thin.
Some people especially those working on computers have to keep sitting for long hours. This is why the lifestyle becomes sedentary and This contributes a major chunk to central obesity. A morning walk can help you reduce belly fat. Taking a few hours a week for your good health is not very hard but you have to be determined. Taking out an hour in a day for a morning walk and inhaling fresh air, a few minutes of walking during break time, and hitting the gym four to five hours per week is enough to reduce your belly fat by multiple folds.
Exercise is also a part of physical activity but it requires more determination, consistency, and, most importantly, motivation. Some cardio, HIIT, or weight training can help you shed belly fat faster and also make you feel more fresh and active. From simply walking to even complicated workouts, all come under the umbrella of exercise. We will discuss the exercises that will help you reduce belly fat later in this article.
Best Exercises for belly fat
Cardiovascular or aerobic exercise
Cardiovascular or aerobic exercise means exercise that increases your heart rate. It is one of the most common exercises due to convenience and many people do it some merely to stay active whereas some have to achieve their health goals. Both ways it is good and effective.
Cardiovascular exercise or commonly known as “cardio” includes
- Brisk walking or simply walking at a higher pace than normal
Cardio is easier and simpler to perform and also engaging. People who start tend to continue as it does not involve heavy, expensive equipment or a lot of energy and time. But if you invest some of the resources the results are better.
The abdominal region starts from beneath the ribs and extends to the pelvic girdle. This is the region belly fat is majorly accumulated and thus, abdominal exercise can be most effective. This can help achieve a flatter belly more effectively and conveniently. Common abdominal exercises include
- Leg lift
The abdominal exercise can help you strengthen the abdominal as well as thoracic muscles and reduce belly fat. And these exercises are more convenient and they also don’t involve any equipment and can be performed at home with ease.
High-intensity interval training
High-intensity interval training or interval training involves intervals of high-intensity exercises with low-intensity workouts and rest. Generally, the regime includes 30 seconds of high-intensity followed by 30 seconds of low-intensity workouts and rest. This cycle is repeated a few times to achieve desired results. This regime is also helpful to combat belly fat. The exercises include
- Squatting/jump squats
- Jumping jacks
- Loaded carries
- High knees
To begin with this start with an easier-to-perform high-intensity exercise and do it for 30 seconds then rest for 30 seconds and afterward carry on with the next move. Repeat the cycle a few times for the best results.
Weight training can also help reduce belly fat as it increases muscle mass and muscle mass is related to increased BMR. Muscle cells require more energy in contraction and relaxation as compared to fats. Weight training can help you build more muscle and thus boost your metabolism leading to burning more calories and more fat. The weight training exercises include
- Bicep curls
- Tricep kicks
It is recommended to repeat 8-12 repetitions of each with intervals of rest between the sets.
Belly fat is the most stubborn and least attractive and therefore reducing belly fat is a major concern of today. Too much belly fat can be associated with a higher risk of hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease.
The major cause of belly fat is a sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy dietary patterns. The belly fat can be reduced by following a good diet as well as making a few lifestyle changes with Motivation determination and consistency being the crucial part.