Nobody likes the self-consciousness that tends to accompany belly fat. No matter how much you weigh, you may be experiencing this and you're likely feeling fed up with the battle for a flat belly.
What many people may not realize though is that belly fat isn't just a nuisance; it's actually very harmful. This type of fat that clings to your waistline for dear life is known as visceral fat, and it's a major risk factor for health conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and more.
What's interesting about this type of fat is that it can't be identified when using BMI to classify weight. Even if someone is thin according to BMI, if they have excess belly fat, they are at a higher risk level.
Losing visceral fat from your waist can be difficult, so we've compiled a list of scientifically proven ways to lose belly fat so that you can get started in the right direction!
1. Go Easy on the Alcohol
"UGH! But it's the holidays!" That reaction is exactly why we put this reminder first! It can be all too easy to drink too much alcohol at all of those holiday parties you're going to attend. Alcohol such as red wines can have some health benefits, but there isn't a single type of alcohol that is healthy for you in large amounts. Limit yourself to a few glasses of wine a week and no more than one glass of wine per day at those holiday parties. Try passing on hard liquor of any kind, and ultimately, listen to your body. If you've had enough alcohol to get drunk, you've definitely had enough to gain weight.
Studies show that heavy alcohol consumption leads to a significantly increased risk of obesity, particularly around the waist. If you want to reduce your waist size, it's time to cut back on your alcohol consumption!
2. Add More Soluble Fiber to Your Diet
You've probably heard before that it's good to add fiber to your diet, but soluble fiber is the key here. Soluble fiber is unique in that it is known to absorb water and form a gel as it breaks down, slowing down food as it goes through your digestive system. This benefits you in that it will help you to feel full faster so that you will naturally eat less.
A study done with a test group of 1,100 adults observed that for every 10-gram increase in soluble fiber, test subjects saw a 3.7% decrease in belly fat over 5 years. Obviously, this reveals that you need to make the addition of soluble fiber part of your everyday diet, not just a fad.
3. Increase the Amount of Protein in Your Diet
Obviously, protein is essential to a well-balanced diet, but it's especially important for weight control. Protein, when consumed, promotes fullness and decreases appetite. That's why you'll feel full faster after eating a few bites of meat than you will be eating a bag of chips, for example. Protein can also increase your metabolic rate and help you retain muscle mass during your weight loss journey.
Many studies have shown that those who eat a high-protein diet tend to have less belly fat than those who choose to eat a low-protein diet. Here's one such study.
4. Avoid Sugary Foods
What many people may not realize is that fructose (found in sugar) and added sugars aren't the only contributors to weight gain. Even a sweetener such as real honey or eating too much fruit that is high in sugar can contribute if you aren't careful.
Studies show that there is a relationship between high sugar intake and an increase in belly fat, as well as a link to health issues such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, fatty liver disease, and obesity.
5. Include Aerobic Exercise in Your Routine
One of the most effective ways to burn calories, improve your overall physical and mental health, and lose belly fat is to incorporate aerobic exercise (also known as cardio) into your weekly schedule.
One study showed that postmenopausal women were able to lose more fat throughout their body when they did cardio for 300 minutes (5 hours) per week versus women who did cardio for 150 minutes (2.5 hours) per week. Other studies have shown that cardio is one of the most effective forms of exercise to lose belly fat. Results are mixed, however, on whether high-intensity or moderate-intensity is more beneficial for this.
You Can Lose the Belly Fat
To recap, there are five key ways that you can get rid of belly fat: reducing alcohol consumption, increasing soluble fiber, eating more protein, avoiding sugar, and adding aerobic exercise. But what if these aren't quite enough? TransformYou can help!
Whether you're looking to lose that dreaded belly fat or are looking for a complete lifestyle change, we can help. We help patients across the country achieve the level of health that they desire. The first step is to schedule a consultation, where you'll work directly with one of our physicians to start your journey toward better health and body confidence.