Categorized | Dieting Help, Weight Loss

How to Lose Belly Fat for Beginners

While it’s easy to shred the fat that accumulates around your triceps and your calves, belly fat, despite being easy to pile on, is often the hardest to lose. Even if you’re otherwise thin, having abdominal fat can put you at risk for several life-threatening diseases. So, it’s important to learn what causes the buildup of fat around your abdomen and to figure out how to lose belly fat. In this article, you’ll learn about the reasons behind excess belly fat, the potential health risks it poses, and how to lose this stubborn flab.

Why Is It Important to Know How to Lose Belly Fat?

The most experienced fitness experts will tell you that targeted weight loss is a myth. While it’s certainly possible to train and build a specific set of muscles, it’s quite impossible to lose fat in one area of the body alone. So, knowing how to lose belly fat in the right manner is important. Your exercise regimen is only a small part of the lifestyle changes that you need to make in order to shed the flab around your abdomen, as you’ll find out in the later part of this guide.

What Causes Excess Belly Fat

Before we go on to discuss how to lose belly fat, let’s take a look at some of the possible causes of abdominal flab.

Diet and Nutrition

Your diet plays a major role in determining the levels of belly fat in your body. For starters, consuming foods and beverages that contain high levels of sugar can result in excess abdominal fat. Alcohol is another major contributing factor to belly fat. Eating foods that contain trans fats, such as crackers, muffins, and packaged and processed foods can also make you put on weight in the abdominal region.

Inactivity

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Leading a sedentary life, where you spend most of your day in one position, with little to no activity, can also make you gain weight. Several studies have shown that there is a direct link between the level of inactivity and the level of abdominal fat. In fact, being sedentary can also make you regain the belly fat you lost. In order to work around this roadblock, incorporate resistance training into your exercise routine.

Gut Health

Your gut is home to many kinds of bacteria, most of which help your digestive organs stay healthy. However, some of the bacteria in your gut can cause problems. Having the wrong kind of gut bacteria is not only detrimental to your digestive health, but it can also promote weight gain and cause you to pile on belly fat. In fact, research has revealed that overweight and obese people have higher levels of Firmicutes bacteria than people in the ideal weight range.

Stress and Anxiety

Cortisol, which is a hormone released by the adrenal glands, is also known as the stress hormone because it is released when your body is under stress. Unfortunately, excess levels of cortisol can promote weight gain in the abdominal region. So, if you’re stressed out often, you could put yourself at risk for gaining belly fat. Stress can also lead to overeating, which isn’t very helpful if you already have excess fat around your abdomen.

Sleep Habits

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In a study that tracked around 68,000 women over the course of 16 years, it was revealed that women who slept for 5 or fewer hours during the night were 32 percent more likely to put on around 15 kilograms (32 pounds) of weight than women who got at least 7 hours of sleep. Getting adequate sleep can keep you from gaining weight, and not sleeping for the required number of hours can increase your chances of accumulating belly fat.

Potential Health Risks

Belly fat is more than a mere nuisance that can mess with the way you look; it can have several adverse effects on the body and can increase your risk for several diseases and health issues as explained below.

Sleep Troubles

While inadequate sleep can result in a buildup of belly fat, the converse also holds true. Excess abdominal fat can cause sleep apnea, which is a condition where your breathing repeatedly stops and then starts again. It can disturb your sleep and cause you to wake up in the middle of the night. Losing weight, particularly belly fat, can help tackle this issue and can even cure sleep apnea.

Heart Disease

Several studies have revealed that visceral fat around the abdominal region is directly linked to various kinds of heart troubles. The fat cells in the flab stored around your stomach and abdominal region pump out cytokines into the body. These cytokines affect the ability of your body’s cells to regulate blood pressure and respond to insulin. These factors together build up to heart disease.

Diabetes

It’s common knowledge that excess fat in the body puts a person at a high risk of developing diabetes. Being obese or overweight can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Belly fat, in particular, affects the functioning of the internal organs and changes the way in which the body’s cells react to insulin, thus increasing your chances of developing insulin resistance, and eventually, diabetes.

Cancer

Accumulation of belly fat can also increase your risk of developing various kinds of cancer. According to the World Health Organization, around a third of the cancers in the kidney, colon, and other organs in the digestive tract are linked to being overweight. Visceral fat only increases the risk further. Excess fat triggers the body to produce the hormones that support cell division and multiplication, thus creating more chances for cancer to form and grow.

Beginner’s Guide to Losing Belly Fat

It may not be possible to shed all the fat overnight, but it’s certainly possible to lose all the abdominal flab if you incorporate a few practices into your everyday lifestyle. Some such tips on how to lose belly fat are discussed here.

Eat a Diet Rich in Proteins

high protein diet

It’s imperative to include more proteins in your diet when you’re on the journey of discovering how to lose belly fat. Eating more proteins increases the release of PYY, which is the fullness hormone that is responsible for the feeling of satiety that you feel after a meal. More PYY means that you feel full faster and for longer periods, thus minimizing the instances of snacking on unhealthy foods and gaining belly fat.

Do Cardiovascular Exercises

Performing aerobic exercises and incorporating them into your everyday workout routines are other effective practices to follow if you’re intent on exploring how to lose belly fat. These exercises, also known as cardiovascular exercises, help burn more calories when performed at moderate to high-intensity levels. Some examples of cardiovascular exercises include swimming, dancing, running, brisk walking, and sports like racquetball, tennis, and soccer.

Cut Back on Refined Carbs

drinking water

Much like how increasing your protein intake is important, it’s also necessary to cut back on refined carbs. In fact, diets with less than 50 grams of carbs per day can help overweight people lose their belly fat quickly. While reducing your overall carb intake may be more effective, it’s essential to at least reduce your intake of refined carbs as the first step toward a healthy body.

Get Adequate Sleep

If you’re keen on knowing more about how to lose belly fat, you need to understand that getting around seven hours of sleep each night is of paramount importance. Restful sleep helps the body relax and rejuvenate itself, thus reducing the stress on your internal organs. If you have trouble sleeping for prolonged periods, consult a doctor and get your problem resolved.

Try Intermittent Fasting

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Intermittent fasting is another workable solution if you’re interested in learning about how to lose belly fat. Essentially, it’s an eating pattern that involves periods of eating followed by periods of fasting. One way to do it is to eat all your meals within an 8-hour period and fast for the remaining 16 hours of the day (including the time you sleep). Another way to do it is to fast for an entire day once or twice a week.

Reduce Your Alcohol Consumption

While it’s true that alcohol can have a few beneficial effects on the body when consumed in small amounts, it can be truly disastrous for your health if you don’t regulate your alcohol consumption. Observational studies have revealed that high levels of alcohol consumption are linked to central obesity, which is the storage of excess fat around the abdomen. Cutting back on alcohol can help you lose some of your belly fat.

Conclusion

While these tips may all give you a clearer idea about how to lose belly fat, you need to understand that there’s no quick-fix solution to burning your abdominal flab. It’s a process that takes considerable time. You need to be consistent in your efforts, whether they involve doing aerobic exercises, cutting back on alcohol, restructuring your diet, or changing your sleeping habits. Although it can be hard to go on if you don’t see immediate results, you need to remember that consistency is the vital element that can help you see the results you’re working toward.
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