Losing belly fat is no easy feat. It requires you to work hard and pay close attention to your daily habits. You might think that working out for hours on end is the best way to shed excess fat around your midsection, but that's not true. You can lose belly fat without exercising at all, in fact, as long as you make the right choices. Maybe you're injured and physically can't work out or you just don't have as much time to get to the gym as you used to. Either way, here are seven ways you can reduce belly fat without working out.
Budget calories much as you budget money. It's one part of your decision-making pie. (Mmm ... pie.) If you're on a 2,000-calorie diet, a good goal for a guy who works out three days a week and wants to lose weight, you can take in 200 to 400 "anything" calories a day. But according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, men eat more calories and make unhealthier food choices on days they drink alcohol. David Levitsky, PhD., a professor of nutritional sciences at Cornell University, says even a slight buzz makes you focus on immediate gratification (food) rather than long-term goals (weight loss). He recommends eating a snack rich in protein and healthy fats, such as nuts, before that first sip. That will keep your blood sugar levels steady and slow the absorption of alcohol, which can help fend off postdrinking pig-outs, he says. In any case, you'll want to limit alcohol to two drinks a day, 14 a week, to avoid trouble.
Running or walking: As you exercise, calories are burned and your body fat percentage decreases. So, exercising not only helps you to reduce belly fat, it also sheds fat from other areas. Running and walking are two of the best fat-burning exercises. Plus, the only equipment you need is a good pair of shoes. Between the two, running burns more calories, but walking really isn't too far behind.
Pinterest and Instagram are both filled with gorgeous photos of decadent desserts and ooey-gooey macaroni and cheese recipes, and while it may be fun to dream about eating them, they may be wrecking your diet. Research from the University of Southern California says that viewing images of high-calorie foods sparks more activity in the reward areas of the brain than photos of low-calorie fare—which means you'll be more tempted to indulge in high-fat fare next time you're hungry.
As funny as it sounds, sleep deprivation may make you fat — and not just because you're susceptible to cases of the late-night munchies (although there's that too). There's tons of research that demonstrates getting less than the desired amount — about 7 hours — of sleep per night can slow down your metabolism. Plus, when you're awake for longer, you're naturally more likely to nosh. So don't skimp on your ZZZs, and you'll be rewarded with an extra edge when it comes to shedding pounds quickly.
“Whether it’s an app or paper food logs, tracking what you eat will certainly be eye-opening. Almost everyone consumes more than they think. Write everything down as soon as you’re done eating so you don’t forget anything. The simple act of recording what you eat will make you eat less. When the calories are in your face, it makes you think twice!” — Martha McKittrick, RD, CDE
At any given time, there are dozens of weight-loss hypes in the marketplace that claim to take off 10 pounds in 10 days, or whatever. Desperation can tempt us to try anything — from "clean eating" to cutting out food groups entirely. Keep in mind: Just because an avocado-walnut-"crunchy"-kale-salad dripping in coconut oil is deemed "clean" by a so-called "expert" on your Instagram feed does not make it an unlimited food. Moral of the story? Avoid fads, eat real food, watch some Netflix, and unwind (perhaps with a glass of wine in hand). Now that's my kind of detox.
The one that concerned me after reading this was the lancet. According to the website, 3 groups of people had 3 different diets, each diet only containing 1000 calories. One was 90% of calories from carbs, one 90% of calories from fat, and one 90% of calories from protein. In the end, the group that ate 90% fat lost the most average weight, and the group that ate 90% carbs ended up gaining weight on average. How does this make sense if they all had the same calorie intake?
The secret to a slimmer stomach in no time? A whole lot of fiber in your diet. Although many people are loath to add carbs to their diet when they’re trying to lose weight, adding the right, fiber-rich ones can have inches off your belly in a hurry. In fact, researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center found that every 10-gram daily increase in soluble fiber was associated with a 3.7 percent decrease in dangerous visceral fat over five years. Those who were active got even leaner, shaving off twice that much fat in the same amount of time. To start ditching that extra belly fat today, add the 30 Best Foods For Fiber to your menu!