How To Lose Belly Fat Easily
Trying to get rid of stubborn abdominal fat can be so frustrating! But it doesn't have to be! I’ve talked to several friends and clients recently who have asked me why belly fat is so much harder to lose than other types of fat. If you’ve noticed this, you are not alone.
Abdominal fat is a highly hormonal type of fat that is affected by many factors beyond just exercise and diet.
That said, it’s 100% possible to lose it so feel encouraged!! Small changes made consistently can make a HUGE difference! You do not have to do everything on this list to make a difference. Choose a couple strategies that fit with your life and start doing them regularly. Losing abdominal fat is a long-term game. So stick with the choices you make and you will see change! Read all the way to #10 to see my favorite strategy (but don’t skip over 1-9 :)
1. Reduce your sugar intake
Refined sugar is one of the TOP contributors to belly fat and it’s really not that hard to cut back on. Reducing the amount of days you consume dessert or alcohol can reduce your sugar intake dramatically. Think about swapping dessert for fresh berries and beer (or your go-to bevvie) for a Lacroix 5/7 days a week. You can also dramatically decrease your refined sugar intake with a quick ingredient glance at the grocery store. Products like mustard, pasta sauce and bread simply DON’T need sugar! Get the products that have no added sugar and you’ll start to see serious changes to your belly. Swap BBQ sauce with sugar for one that is sweetened with honey. Get condiments, sauces and dressings with no sugar. Watch out for taco seasoning especially. It’s notorious for high sugar content and it adds absolutely nothing to the flavor. Just calories and abdominal fat.) There are SO many sources for this one, but here is a good one.
2. Fidget More
A recent study showed that people who fidget more during the day tend to be slimmer. This isn’t rocket science. When you move your body, you burn calories. You don’t have to get a full sweat up every time you move. Try pacing while you're on the phone. Stand at your desk and rock back and forth. Take a 1-minute break every hour if you sit at a desk all day. Change up the way you sit or sit on a ball. Just move and fidget and over time, you’ll notice a difference in your body. Source.
3. Move More Efficiently
It’s a myth that cardio is the best way to burn abdominal fat. Recent research from the Department of Kinesiology at Southern Illinois University showed that as little as three 11-minute intense strength-training sessions a week resulted in an increase in fat burn at rest, and a chronic increase in energy expenditure throughout the day. HIIT workouts and lifting heavier weights actually improves calorie burn long after your workout whereas cardio, you mostly stop burning calories when you stop. Cardio is a very important part of a well-rounded fitness plan, but it’s not the only component! If you want to see changes you also need to pick up some heavier weights and get some intensity into your workouts. Just 10-30 minutes of resistance and HIIT three times a week can make a difference! Need some inspiration? Check out Playful Fitness library of at-home workout videos. They are almost all HIIT with resistance training built in.
4. Eat Anti-Inflammatory Foods & Reduce Your Stress
Stress (whether caused by our circumstances or what we are eating) contributes to an increase in the stress hormone cortisol. When cortisol is present, your body holds on to every calorie you put in it because it’s in fight or flight mode and it’s not sure how much energy will be needed to get you to safety. You can do two things to combat this.
First, build stress reducing routines into your day. Take three deep breaths before each meal. Go for a 5-minute slow walk around the block when you get home from work to help you transition. Exercise also helps reduce stress.
Second, you can decrease inflammatory foods (fried foods, highly processed foods & high sugar foods) and replace them with anti-inflammatory foods such as.
- Leafy greens
- Chia seeds
- Coconut oil
- Bone Broth
- Bok Choy
I put ginger in my smoothies in the morning and turmeric in scrambled eggs. For other ideas, check out Playful Fitness Recipes. All our recipes included anti-inflammatory, highly nourishing foods. Source.
5. Add Apple Cider Vinegar to Your Diet
Apple cider vinegar contains a compound called acetic acid, which has been shown to have a positive effect on the reduction of abdominal fat storage. A recent study on obese men showed that those who took 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar per day for 12 weeks lost half an inch waist with no other lifestyle change. If shooting a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar daily sounds awful to you, add it into salad dressings or cook it into rice. There are tons of uses for apple cider vinegar that can help you get it into you diet. Apple cider vinegar is also an immune system booster and may contribute to overall gut health. Add exercise and a healthy diet to the power of apple cider vinegar and you’ll be looking and feeling great! Source.
6. Get Better Sleep
While you sleep your body releases to different hormones that deal with muscle repair and control appetite. A recent study showed that people getting 8.5 hours of sleep a night lost 56% more body fat than their counterparts getting 5-6 hours per night. You burn fat while you sleep! The appetite control hormone helps you eat less when you get better rest. PLUS, getting good sleep also helps reduce stress which reduces cortisol which reduces the number of calories your body stores. Source.
7. Reduce Your Exposure to Toxins
Study after study shows that chemicals commonly found in common skin care products and cleaning products adversely affect the body’s ability to oxidize fat because they get stored in fatty tissue and resist being metabolized. You can reduce your exposure a couple of ways. First, try storing food in glass instead of plastic. Swap out harsh cleaning chemicals for natural (and usually less expensive) options. Baking soda, lemon, olive oil, and vinegar are all effective non-toxic cleaners. You can also swap out your lotions, hand-soaps and facial products for non-toxic versions. Check out last week’s blog post for affordable, non-toxic skin care products.
8. Quit Looking At the Scale!
Daily weigh-ins are not only terrible for you psychologically, they are also one of the worst ways to measure fat loss. While this isn't a direct strategy to help you lose fat, it's a crucially important piece to be aware of in the weight loss process. Not to mention, stressing over our weight causes a stress reaction in our bodies which causes weight gain not weight loss.
To accurately measure fat loss you need to measure body composition, not just overall weight. Especially if you are also adding exercise to your routine, you are exchanging muscle for fat. Muscle weighs up to 80% more than fat so you might see no change in the numbers even though you’re losing fat. Circumference measurements are much more accurate. An inch off your waist equates to about 4-8 pounds of fat. Measure the circumference of your waist, hips, biceps, thighs and neck once a month and forget about it in between. Trust your choices in between, trust how you feel in between and let the scale and constant measurement go for a while. Obsessing only hurts your process. You are beautiful and TRUE health is a journey! Not an overnight fix.
9. Find a Good Probiotic
Grab a probiotic with 30 billion live cultures and make sure it has cultures from the Lactobacillus family (Lactobacillus fermentum, Lactobacillus amylovorus and especially Lactobacillus gasseri). Any kind of probiotic helps with digestion and nutrient absorption. Lactobacillus in-particular may help reduce the number of calories your body stores. It also may help speed the release of the hormone that makes you feel full, meaning you’ll eat less and feel more full. Source.
10. LAUGH MORE (MY FAVORITE STRATEGY!)
A study commissioned by the Great Britain comedy channel, Go On Laugh Daily, in Great Britain looked into the number of calories burned by intense laughing and compared it to the calorie burn of other daily activities (strength training, running, even vacuuming). The research was headed by Helen Pilcher, PhD, formerly of London’s Institute of Psychiatry. Results found that intense laughter by itself serves as a mini cardio workout. An hour of laughing has benefits equal to 30 minutes of a hard gym workout. Laughing burns calories, but it can also boost total energy expenditure by up to 20 percent meaning that one hour of laughter burns up to 120 calories--that's approximately equal to 18 to 27 minutes of weight training, 15 to 20 minutes of walking, or 40 minutes’ vacuuming. So laugh away my friends!
Remember, this is a process. You DON'T need to do everything on this list to make changes. Choose 1-3 things that you can do consistently and stick with it! It will take time and it is possible!
If you want more, check out my Facebook Live from last Friday’s Lady’s Lunch.
Live. Laugh. Matter