Fitness

10 Effective Steps to Lose Your Belly Fat Fast and Safely

Author: Greatest Physiques

March 30th 2020

 

Stubborn belly fat is a massive source of insecurity for many people – so it only makes sense that they look for a quick and simple way to get rid of it.

The truth is, blitzing belly fat isn’t as straightforward as it may seem, however, it’s possible. You can’t spot reduce fat in the body but there are ways to reduce overall body fat throughout – you just need the right steps. Luckily, this article has them.

If you want to know how to flatten belly fat fast, effectively and safely, keep reading.

What causes belly fat?

Belly Fat

Blubber, beer belly, belly chub – there’s a horde of names for the fat that sits around the waist. This fat is known to share space with vital organs like the liver, stomach kidneys and intestines.

Having a lot of it is incredibly harmful to your health because it’s a huge risk factor for conditions like metabolic disease, type 2 diabetes[1], cancer and cardiovascular disease[2].

Perhaps what’s most alarming about belly fat is the fact that it’s metabolically active. This means it’s more active in producing harmful hormones and chemical messengers that can profoundly impact our health and cause inflammation in the body[3].

There are a number of factors that can influence the development of belly fat, including:

  • Lack of exercise[4]
  • Alcohol[5]
  • High trans-fat diet[6]
  • Genetics[7]
  • Menopause[8]
  • Low-protein diet[9]
  • Sleep deprivation[10]
  • Stress[11]

There are many ways to banish the fat for good. If you’re determined to bid goodbye to your beer belly and improve your health, follow these 10 steps.

How to lose your belly fat fast and safely

1. Do HIIT exercise

High-intensity interval training isn’t just more efficient with your time, it can help melt the fat off faster too. In fact, studies say it can burn 25-30% more calories than other forms of exercise.

With this form of training, you go hard, typically as hard as you can for a short period of time. You then rest to allow yourself to recover before going hard again.

HIIT can be done with a variety of exercises including sprinting, skipping, cycling or even just bodyweight exercises.

HIIT ticks all the boxes when it comes to torching calories and banishing belly fat – it keeps your metabolic rate high for hours afterward [12] and may even help you build muscle too[13].

2. Get quality sleep

Getting more sleep increases testosterone

Clocking less than 7 hours of sleep a night? You might be contributing towards that pot belly and hindering your health.

Sleep deprivation is becoming more popular among populations – in fact, one in three of us suffers from poor sleep[14].  A good night’s sleep does more than leave you bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

Sleep is important for proper brain function[15], decreased inflammation[16], a healthy immune system[17] and even fertility[18].

What’s more, a lack of sleep can equal weight gain. This is mediated by various factors including hormones in your body and lack of energy to exercise.

Sleep-deprived people are said to have reduced levels of leptin (the chemical that tells you you’re full) and increased levels of ghrelin (the hormone that regulates hunger)[19].

How do you catch up on lost Zzz? Get yourself to bed earlier, limit your caffeine intake or try to grab some shuteye in the afternoon at the weekend.

3. Get out in the sun

You wouldn’t think it, but the absence of sunlight is a big culprit for weight gain. That’s according to a study conducted by researchers in Canada[20].

According to the study, the sunlight’s blue light wavelengths (the light we see with our eyes) penetrate the skin and reach the fat cells underneath, shrinking the lipid droplets.

Lipid droplets are released from the cell, meaning our cells don’t store as much fat[21]. While it’s still early days, findings like this pave the way for new weight loss strategies.

If you’re lucky to have sunshine all year round, get out in the rays to reap the fat shredding rewards.

Reducing stress can increase testosterone

4. Eat more protein

This important macronutrient does a whole lot more than help to build and maintain muscle.

Evidence reveals protein can reduce food cravings by 60%[22] and ignite your metabolism by 80-100 calories per day[23][24]. A higher metabolism means more calories burned and a trimmer waist.

Protein may also help keep you satisfied for longer[25], meaning you have no desire to consume those extra calories!

Make the effort to increase your intake of high-protein foods and you should have no trouble leaning out.

[infobox]

High protein foods include:

  • Whole eggs
  • Fish
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Lean meats
  • Broccoli
  • Greek yogurt

[/infobox]

5. De-stress

Prolonged stress can lead to a little extra weight on your midsection. That’s because it can keep stress hormones like cortisol at peak levels.

Cortisol is a vital hormone, part of your body’s ‘fight or flight’ response. The hormone responds to stress by slowing down body functions and letting you focus. However, when it’s too high, it may do more harm than good.

High cortisol levels can increase appetite, change your metabolism and tell your body to store fat in cells[26][27].

According to a 2018 review, long-term cortisol levels are related to abdominal obesity[28].

While there’s no way to eliminate all stresses from daily life, there’s certainly the option to reduce the effect of it.

Follow the tips below to de-stress and start the journey towards a flatter, firmer tummy.

  • Get creative
  • Try yoga
  • Meditate
  • Read a book
  • Connect with others
  • Sip soothing tea
  • Learn to say no

6. Lift weights

Barbell Strength Training

Weightlifting is number one when it comes to changing your body composition.

Lifting weights can boost muscle growth and thus boost metabolism. That’s because muscle burns a great load more calories at rest than fat does.

If you can boost your resting metabolic rate, you’re well on your way to a leaner physique. One study showed that 24-weeks of weight training caused a 9% increase in resting metabolism in men, and nearly 4% in women[29].

Pumping iron also burns calories in itself – as long as the weights you’re using are heavy enough to challenge you. If the weight is too easy, it’s time to lift heavier or raise the reps.

7. Cut carbs

Many people use carb restriction as an effective way to lose body fat. And there’s a good reason why.

Cutting your carbohydrates can cause your appetite to decrease[30]. Not only that, but low-carb diets have been shown to specifically target belly fat[31][32]. That’s good news for your meaty midsection!

Experts suggest a 50 gram[33] carb drop per day can help you lose weight. This reduction can put your body into ketosis, where your body burns fat stores for fuel[34].

Avoiding refined carbs like white bread, pastries, sugars and sodas should be sufficient.

8.     Eat more fiber

High-protein-meal-prep

Fiber is really important for weight loss and good health – it helps keep you full and is normally low in calories. However not all fiber is created equal.

It comes in two categories – soluble and insoluble fiber. Both differ in the way they interact with water in your body.

Soluble fiber is the one to watch for when it comes to weight management[35]. It works to bind with water to slow down stomach emptying.

When soluble fiber soaks up water, it expands into a thick, viscous gel that sits in the gut. It’s this consistency that makes it move slowly through your digestive system, so you feel fuller for longer[36].

Glucomannan is a popular soluble fiber taken for weight loss[37]. It’s commonly found in dietary fat burning supplements because of its absorption and expanding abilities.

Numerous studies have also shown that people who eat more soluble fiber have a lower risk of tummy fat[38][39].

Try topping up your soluble fiber by chomping down on apples, strawberries, oats, peas or beans.

9.     Calorie count

What you put in your body matters most when you want to burn belly fat. You can keep good track of what you eat by tracking your calories, however, most dieters underestimate the value of calorie counting.

Many studies demonstrate the beneficial effect of tracking calories on weight loss[40][41].

Managing your food intake is the best way to manage your weight. When you eat more calories than you burn, you’re likelier to gain weight. If you pay close attention to what you eat, you can see where you need to make necessary changes to get the flat belly you want.

Tracking your food is less time consuming than you think – especially since there are now numerous apps to help you put it into practice. Some of the best apps include MyFitnessPal and Lose It!

10.  Try intermittent fasting

This popular fitness trend has taken off in recent years and there’s momentum behind why.

Intermittent fasting is an eating plan where you cycle between periods of fasting and eating. No foods are off-limits – it’s more about the eating than the type of food you eat.

This type of eating plan is ideal for shredding belly fat. According to one study, individuals lost 4-7% of their waist circumference and a 3-5% weight loss over 3-24 weeks[42].

It’s worth keeping in mind that intermittent fasting helps you restrict your calorie intake – which is one of the main reasons it works so well. If you binge during your eating periods, the plan will not be as effective.

Takeaway

Successful fat loss takes many routes, as you can see. By following these ten strategic steps you should reap the rewards of a leaner physique in time. Each step is a tried and tested method to blitz body fat and get the trimmed waist you want – you just have to try them out yourself.


[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4800358/

[2] https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/taking-aim-at-belly-fat

[3] https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/abdominal-fat-and-what-to-do-about-it

[4] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/12/181227111418.htm

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16047538

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19584878

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22043165

[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18332882

[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17023705/

[10] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2398753/

[11] https://news.yale.edu/2000/09/22/study-stress-may-cause-excess-abdominal-fat-otherwise-slender-women

[12] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27747847

[13] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26479856

[14] https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/why-lack-of-sleep-is-bad-for-your-health/

[15] https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/med/research/hscience/mhwellbeing/sleep/sleeppublications/sleep_and_cognition_2014.pdf

[16] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3995194/

[17] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8621064

[18] As source 14

[19] As source 14

[20] https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-16689-4#Sec7

[21] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180110113007.htm

[22] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20847729

[23] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19640952

[24] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11838888

[25] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18448177

[26] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21294656

[27] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19300426

[28] https://doi.org/10.1007/s13679-018-0306-y

[29] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11283427

[30] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17228046

[31] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25527677

[32] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21367948

[33] https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/appendix-7/

[34] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5828461/

[35] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22845031

[36] https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/106/6/1514/4823179

[37] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26492494

[38] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3410273/

[39] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19793854

[40] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17216341

[41] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17904942

[42] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S193152441400200X

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