Work your core. When many people think of core strengthening, they think of stomach crunches. Crunches are helpful for building abdominal muscles, but contrary to popular belief, crunches won't do much to lose the layer of fat stored in your belly, and can actually cause significant damage to the spine. Instead, try a workout routine that strengthens your whole core, like yoga, or try abdominal presses and planking.
Sometimes, to whip your body into shape, you have to get a little nutty. While nuts are high in fat, it's that very fat that makes them such powerful weapons in the war against a ballooning belly. In fact, a study published in Diabetes Care revealed that study participants who consumed a diet rich in monounsaturated fats, like those in nuts, over a 28-day period gained less belly fat than their saturated fat-consuming counterparts while improving their insulin sensitivity.
Increasing your daily physical activity could help you lose weight faster and burn extra calories. Your overall daily activities impact your fitness level to a great extent and also helps combat obesity and weight-loss. If you're doing a desk job as compared to a manual job, your sedentary work life could mean that you're unable to burn up to 1,000 calories per day. This amounts to the same as 90-120 minutes of high-intensity exercise at the gym. You could incorporate simple lifestyle changes such as walking or cycling to nearby destinations, taking stairs instead of elevators, standing more often or even helping out in household chores. You'd be surprised at the calories you could burn by following these simple changes.
While few would suggest you start hitting up the tanning beds for better health, getting some natural sunlight can help you get rid of belly fat in a matter of weeks. Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that vitamin D-deficient overweight women between 50 and 75 who upped their intake of the so-called sunshine vitamin shed more weight and body fat than those who didn't. To practice safe sun, make sure you're limiting yourself to 15 sunscreen-free minutes per day.
Don't go it alone when it comes to weight loss—unless you want to make things harder on yourself. Research shows that changing and maintaining healthy behaviors is made easier with support from others. Most friends and family members want to be supportive of your weight loss efforts, but may be unsure how to help you, so help them help you. Be specific about the support you need. Rather than saying, "Help me eat healthier and exercise more," say, "Could you go for a 20-minute walk with me after dinner on Mondays and Wednesdays," or "It would be great if you could offer me a small bowl of popcorn rather than a bowl of ice cream as an evening snack."
Charushila Biswas is a Senior Content Writer and an ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist. She is an alumni of VIT University, Vellore and has worked on transgenic wheat as a part of her Masters dissertation from NRCPB (IARI), New Delhi. After completing her Masters, she developed a passion for nutrition and fitness, which are closely related to human psychology. And that prompted her to author a review article in 2015. She has written over 200 articles on Fitness and Nutrition. In her leisure time, Charushila loves to cook and enjoys mobile photography.
Many people struggle with weight loss issues. Losing belly fat in particular is about more than just aesthetics: visceral fat, the kind of fat that tends to settle around the midsection, can cause an increase in your body's production of stress hormones that can affect your body's insulin production. As a result, excess belly fat can lead to serious complications like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. There is no way to target belly fat, but diet and exercise will eventually burn off belly fat. Knowing how to take the first step can help you feel better and get you on the road to a healthier, more active lifestyle.