If you are anything like me your belly is the most stubborn spot on your body to lose fat. For me it seems like it is the first place that I gain weight and the last place that I lose weight. It can be very frustrating!
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Not only is belly fat frustrating it is very unhealthy and can even be dangerous as well. Belly fat or “viseral fat” is actually fat this is hugging your internal organs and has been linked with an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and more.
Ok, so now we know why we DON’T want it but what can we actually do to get rid of it. A lot of people are under the impression that doing crunches will decrease belly fat but that just isn’t true. Yes, crunches will work your abdominal muscles but if there a layer fat over them it isn’t going to do much.
1. Eat whole foods
The saying is true…abs are made in the kitchen. I think the most effective thing you can do in losing belly fat is to cut sugar, refined carbs, and processed foods. This is the thing that makes the biggest difference for me. Not only do these foods offer no nutritional value, they cause inflammation in the body which can lead to belly fat and other health issues.
2. Eat More Fiber
Research has shown that eating more fiber can decrease belly fat! Yet, many people aren’t getting the recommended daily amount of 25-30 grams per day. Bring on the wheat bran!
But wait, it’s not that simple. Before you load up on the wheat bran it is important to know that there are two kinds of fiber -soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fiber such as the fiber found in wheat bran is great for constipation. Soluble fiber is the fiber we want as it actually slows down how fast the stomach releases digested food thus reducing belly fat.
All fruits and veggies contain some amount of soluble fiber (another reason to eat more whole foods) but those containing the highest amounts are beans, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and avocados.
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And if you are looking for a supplement this PROTEIN AND FIBER NUTRITIONAL BOOSTER from Bob’s Red Mill contains 9 grams of soluble fiber per serving and can be added to your smoothies.
3. Get More Sleep
Elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol have been linked to increased belly fat. And one factor that contributes to higher cortisol levels is not getting enough sleep. So get your zzz’s! The Sleep Foundation recommends getting 7-9 hours per night for adults. I know that I personally feel the effects if I get anything less than 8. How many hours are you guys averaging per night?
4. Do Some Yoga
As I mentioned above all the crunches in the world will not help to reduce your belly fat. However, yoga has been proven to reduce cortisol levels which can result in decreased belly fat. Namaste!
5. Avoid Alcohol
You may have heard of the term “beer belly” before. And while it can be a silly term that we typically associate it with older men there is some merit to it.
Your body metabolizes alcohol differently then it does food and your liver burns the alcohol instead of fat. So basically your body wants to burn off the alcohol before the food.
Add in lowered inhibitions which can cause us to overeat or eat foods that we may not normally eat and you can see how this could get you into trouble. Now, I am all about living a balanced life so I am not suggesting you give up alcohol all together but it is certainly something to be mindful of.
6. Drink Apple Cider Vinegar
There is no magic potion when it comes to fat loss but Apple Cider Vinegar has proven to be very effective when it comes to fat loss.
While the taste leaves something to be desired – and that’s putting it mildly – you can get used to it. I personally mix about a 1-2 tablespoons into a very small glass of water and just chug. The first time is the worst and then it gets a little easier each time. You can also try this apple pie apple cider vinegar drink to take some of the bite out.
Also, make the apple cider vinegar is raw, unfiltered and with “the mother”, BRAGGS is the most popular brand.
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