When you set out to lose abdominal fat, one of the challenges is that you can’t only remove weight from your tummy. Belly fat can’t be “targeted” alone, although there are certainly ways to improve belly fat loss.
Many people have learned that sadly, even hundreds of situps won’t get rid of “love handles”, since fat can sit happily on an underlying layer of muscle. So you can build rock-hard abs, but they may still be cushioned by a layer of abdominal fat unless you lose excess weight overall. Oh, and crunches work better than situps…
Building Muscle Helps
Of course, I’m not knocking exercise. Building muscle helps, since every pound of muscle you add burns 30-50 calories per day even at rest. That means that if you add a couple of pounds of muscle, over the next year that muscle will burn enough calories to take off up to 10 pounds. That’s pretty impressive, so building muscle is a big step in the right direction to creating a fat-burning metabolism.
Building muscle in the abdominal area will also make you look better, since some of that muscle will replace fat – and one pound of muscle is three times smaller than one pound of fat. That’s why some people who work out a lot may lose bulk and look slimmer without losing a lot of weight (or any weight). That’s just fine – the goal of weight loss isn’t really what we’re after, in most cases. Our true goals are to be healthier, reduce weight-related illness, and feel good about how we look. None of those are achieved by a number on a scale in itself.
So feel free to work on your six-pack abs – but keep reading for other ways to lose abdominal fat naturally.
Get Some Sleep
This one may surprise you, but a University of Chicago study indicates that missing sleep can get in the way of losing abdominal fat. Their results showed that missing enough sleep for four nights in a row slowed fat burn by 16%. Sleep helps your cells stay sensitive to the hormone insulin, which controls fat storage.
If you’re having challenges with sleep, consider getting checked for sleep apnea. Many overweight people lose sleep, or quality of sleep, to undiagnosed sleep disorders. This is a vicious circle, since losing sleep will cause you to retain weight, and the extra weight may be causing you to lose sleep.
The biggest part of losing belly fat naturally is to start eating “clean”. We’re not even talking about dieting here, just eating non-processed natural foods. Dietary changes alone will get you about 70% of the way to your goal.
Your body needs really good nutrition so that it will feel secure in releasing your accumulated fat stores. The best way to get that is to add fresh fruit or vegetables to every meal, get your protein from natural sources (lean meat, fish, eggs), and make sure the fats you consume are good fats.
For most North Americans, just eliminating most processed foods, fast foods and pop will result in weight loss over time. For faster results, consider eliminating wheat and all products containing wheat or gluten for a trial period of six weeks. Many people who try this feel so good and see so many health issues reduced or removed that they make this a permanent lifestyle change. Of course, for the fastest safe and lasting weight loss, nothing beats medical weight loss.
Take a Multivitamin
To ensure that your nutritional needs are being met, take a good quality multivitamin each day. Deficiencies can cause food cravings and encourage your body to store fat, so make sure it’s getting what it needs.
Drink Lots of Water
Simply put, if your liver and kidneys are strained, your metabolism won’t burn as much fat. Drink lots of cleansing water daily – aim for those 8 glasses, and it will help reduce belly fat.
Adding just a bit of activity to your day really helps. Consider getting a pedometer, which has been proving to increase activity. Just getting up more often on the job, walking a bit further during your day, and adding some stretches can make a difference. Try not to spend more than an hour in your chair without getting up for a stretch and a brief walk.
Get Weight Loss Support
Remember that if you’re in Hawaii, I invite you to meet with me at no charge for an intial evaluation of how medical weight loss can aid in your particular goals.