First, you can’t “spot reduce” a trouble area. You’ve likely heard this before but let’s be clear. Thanks largely to genetics, we all hang onto our last vestiges of body fat somewhere. Usually, guys are stuck with the gut and the ladies get the hips — but the process to get rid of it remains the same for all of us: Reduce your overall body fat percentage and eventually, you’ll lose in those “problem areas.”
You can do crunches all day long, but you won't whittle your middle with a move that targets only your abs. To lose your gut, do a total-body-blasting exercise that torches fat all over. (You'll see fat losses in your arms, chest, and shoulders before you sculpt that stubborn belly.) "The kettlebell swing is great because it's a power-building exercise that can also be a metabolism-cranking workout," says Men's Health fitness advisor BJ Gaddour, C.S.C.S. To work your whole body instead of just your legs, swap in a 30-minute kettlebell routine for 30 minutes on the treadmill. You'll hike your heart rate higher while burning about the same number of calories as you would walking 4 mph at a 4 percent grade, a 2014 study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found. To really carve your core, try single-arm swings. "Your core muscles have to work harder to resist the tilting and turning forces around your spine," says Gaddour.
While it likely took more than a week to gain unwanted fat, most people wish they could lose it quicker than it came on. “When it comes to losing weight, simply cutting back on your portion sizes could be the most underrated way to drop pounds. However, if you’re already eating less (and exercising more) and are still stuck, there are little tricks of the trade that can help jumpstart your efforts,” Ansel says.
Luckily, exercise can help spur things along when it comes to that pesky stomach fat. “Visceral fat responds well when… [you] start exercising and watching your calories and what you eat,” Harris-Pincus says. And while endless crunches aren’t your ticket to a flat stomach, it is still important to train your ab muscles. “Everything radiates from the center of your body – your balance, your posture, your functional movement,” says Joe Ardito, founder of Fit Crush NYC. “You can perform better when you have a strong core.”
It’s stunning how often we eat out of boredom, nervousness, habit, or frustration—so often, in fact, that many of us have actually forgotten what physical hunger feels like. (Don’t miss these other common reasons you can’t stop eating.) If you’re hankering for a specific food, it’s probably a craving, not hunger. If you’d eat anything you could get your hands on, chances are you’re truly hungry. Learn how to recognize these feelings mistaken for hunger, then find ways other than eating to express love, tame stress, and relieve boredom. But talk to your doctor if you think you’re always hungry for a medical reason.
Routinely squeaking by on five hours or less per night increases visceral fat levels, according to a 2010 Wake Forest University study. What’s more, after analyzing 28 different studies, UK researchers found that people who slept 5.5 hours or less per night ate an extra 385 calories the day after compared to those who snoozed for at least 7 to 12 hours. On top of that, they preferred to munch on fatty foods full of empty calories, like chips.
Intermittent fasting has blown up in the past year, but scientists are just starting to figure out how it can help you lose weight. In one study from the University of Illinois at Chicago, researchers compared obese people in a traditional weight loss group and fasting group. For the experiment, the calorie-restricted group simply reduced the amount of calories they ate by 25 percent each day. The fasting group, however, alternated days: they ate 25 percent of the calories they needed one day between 12 and 2 p.m., and then had feast days the next, where they ate 125 percent of their required calories.
But you’ll likely experience some benefit before then. Fiber helps slow down your digestion and requires more chewing, which helps signal to your body that it’s full, keeping your hunger in check throughout the day. One small study published in Food & Nutrition Research actually found that men who ate meals rich in high-fiber foods, like beans and peas, felt more satisfied than those who focused only on protein-rich foods, like pork and veal. Adult women should aim to eat 25 to 28 grams of fiber per day.
5. Deep breaths. It may sound trite, but breathing deeply not only helps you calm down, but it can help your weight loss efforts as well. Deep, calming breaths can actually “trick” your body into de-stressing. While most people take breaths with their chest, you should be taking long, deep breaths with your abdomen. Taking a moment to focus and breathe deep into your abdomen can do wonders for your stress level.
The notion that abdominal obesity is the most dangerous kind isn't new. Back in the 1940s, the French physician Jean Vague observed that some obese patients had normal blood chemistry, while some moderately overweight patients showed serious abnormalities that predisposed them to heart disease or diabetes. Almost always, the latter patients carried their fat around their middles. And, almost always, they were men.
If you want to shrink your gut, get enough protein in your diet. In this case, about 25 percent of calories. Why? For starters, protein makes you feel full and helps you build muscle (which increases metabolism, thereby making it easier to lose weight). Just as important, high-protein diets have been shown to be the best way of attacking belly fat. In one study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, Danish researchers put 65 people on either a 12 percent protein diet or a 25 percent protein diet. The low-protein dieters lost an average of 11 pounds, which isn't bad. But the high-protein subjects lost an average of 20 pounds--including twice as much abdominal fat as the low-protein group.
Absolutely not! If you have no belly fat at all then you look like the starving kids in Africa. Is that what you want? Didn't think so. Furthermore, if you are a woman, you will stop having your periods if you lose all your belly fat, which means that your body will not produce enough Oestrogen, which is the hormone that makes you feminine and womanly. And without Oestrogen, you will become more hairy and manly, and your voice might break. So don't lose all your belly fat, it is very important to your lifestyle!
First of all, just want to say thank you for sharing your knowledge and expertise to me and many other people who benefit tremendously from it. I’ve been working out following your recommended routine in your book since a year ago, and switched to follow your suggested fat loss diet/workout routine 9 weeks ago. All I can say is although I did have self-doubt or frustration for very short periods during the process, I trust and stick with your routine and am amazed with the progress I’ve made. Thank you!
Have Protein at Every Meal and Snack. Adding a source of lean or low-fat protein to each meal and snack will help keep you feeling full longer so you're less likely to overeat. Try low-fat yogurt, small portion of nuts, peanut butter, eggs, beans, or lean meats. Experts also recommend eating small, frequent meals and snacks (every 3-4 hours), to keep your blood sugar levels steady and to avoid overindulging.
Saturated fats in food will pack on more visceral fat than polyunsaturated ones, according to a 2014 Swedish study. When subjects ate 750 more calories daily for seven weeks, either in the form of palm oil (saturated) or sunflower oil (polyunsaturated), the former gained more visceral fat while the latter gained more muscle mass and less body fat. The study authors believe different fat types can impact both the way your body forms fat and stores it. What’s more, including healthy fats in your meals can make them more satiating and keeps hunger at bay.
Nuts, the second food to watch, contain a fair amount of carbohydrate, and it’s very easy to unwittingly scarf down large quantities. Cashew nuts are among the worst carb-wise – you’ll find that they contain around 20% carbohydrate by weight. For someone following a strict keto diet with a 20 grams of carbs per day allowance, this means that consuming 100 grams (which happens in a flash!) will have filled their daily quota. Peanuts tend to be around 10-15% carbohydrate – not putting them in the clear either.
Belly fat is, in fact, the colloquial term for abdominal fat. According to medical experts, belly fat can be potentially dangerous. Excess of it can lead to a number of health problems including heart diseases, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, a decrease in the level of HDL or good cholesterol, and can even lead to strokes or sleep apnea. You need to combat this problem before it gets too late.