Fortunately, belly fat can be eliminated or reduced by the same means that other fat can. It just takes the right combination of diet and exercise. There are, however, other factors that can hinder weight loss and cause you to retain belly fat. Below are 50 tips that can help you reduce that belly fat and have those abs you’ve always dreamed of:
1. Avoid stress
Research has found that our bodies produce hormones in response to stress. One of these is cortisol. It will cause your body to look for high-calorie food because it thinks it used a lot of energy handling something that was stressful. It’s kind of like tricking your body into thinking it’s had a big workout, when in fact, it’s done nothing but become anxious and upset. Years ago, eating that type of high-calorie food was fine when you were stressed, because you used more energy every day working in the fields or on farms. Our ancestors remained thin during stressful times because of their hard work.
Now, many of us live more sedentary lives. We simply can’t burn that type of fat intake any longer. When you’re under a large amount of chronic stress, it tells your body to keep on making cortisol. It becomes a vicious cycle. Gaining weight makes you even more stressed, so you produce more cortisol and eat more fattening foods.
You can reduce stress by doing several things. You can get more sleep. The average adult should get at least seven hours of sleep
a night. You should keep things that are stressful away from the area you use for sleeping. Don’t do work in bed if you can help it. That area should be for relaxation and rest instead of work.
Simply work at leaving your worries outside the bedroom door. You should also set aside some time to relax each day. By closing your eyes, breathing deeply, and forgetting your worries for a brief period, even if it’s only 15 minutes a day, you can help reduce stress. Exercise will also help by giving you an outlet for the stress. Keeping your blood sugar level will also help.
2. Tell friends/family that you’re dieting
By telling others that you’re dieting, you have them to help keep you in check. Of course, you’ll hear things like, “You’re dieting aren’t you” or “Are you supposed to be eating that,” but it will help you stick to your diet. You’ll also hear things like, “How much have you lost” or “You’re looking so good.” Those things can be very encouraging. Once you’ve made the proclamation that you’re dieting, you’ll feel like you have to prove you can do it, so you’re more apt to stick with it and achieve success.
3. Diet with a friend
Having a “buddy” system when you diet is a great way to lose weight. You have someone to help keep you in check, but you also have someone you can eat out with that you won’t have to explain you’re dieting to or someone that will be eating fattening foods in front of you. You can help and encourage each other along the way. You can celebrate each success you make as well as the success of your friends.
4. Stop smoking and/or drinking
People often say if they stop smoking they’ll gain weight and use that as an excuse to keep smoking. That is all it is…an excuse! Both smoking and drinking will cause you to gain weight and keep stubborn belly fat. Find something else to do with the time you usually spend smoking. Take short walks, exercise, or do something else that is healthy and good for your body instead of smoking which you know is harmful to your body.
I know it may seem like a counterproductive measure, but it isn’t. Eating is important when you’re trying to reduce your weight, including trying to lose your stubborn belly fat. Breakfast is extremely important when you’re dieting. Many people will skip breakfast in an effort to lose weight, but that’s one of the worst things you can do. It has been proven that eating about an hour after you wake up can keep your insulin levels steadier and aid in keeping your weight steadier. You don’t want to eat a whole pig and a dozen eggs, but eating a breakfast that is high in fiber and protein can really boost your body metabolism and help you burn fat. Foods like eggs, fresh fruits/vegetables, or peanut butter are better for you than the more sugary things such as breakfast cereals, pancakes, or pastries.
It is also better to eat four to five small meals a day than eat one or two large ones. This way you keep the signal to your body that is going to get fuel. If you don’t, or if you eat at irregular times and in irregular amounts, your body won’t know it is going to constantly get fuel. It thinks it has to store that fat for future energy use. Usually where does it store it…right around the mid section. You
defeat the purpose of trying to lose belly fat if you don’t eat breakfast.
6. Stir fry don’t deep fry
Often, people think they’re “stir frying,” but use so much oil that they might as well be deep frying their vegetables. Instead of using a lot of oil, just use a drop of oil to start. Then, gradually add water and let the vegetables stir-fry in their own moisture. This not only reduces your fat intake, it actually makes the vegetables taste better.
7. Heat your skillet when you fry
If you take the time to heat your skillet before you add the oil, the oil gets hot quicker and less oil will be absorbed by your food. If you put oil in a cold skillet, and add the meats or vegetables, oil will soak into the food. If it soaks into the food, where does it go? It goes right into your body and adds belly fat.
8. Camouflage your portions
Sometimes, it isn’t how much you eat that makes you full, it’s how much you “think” you’ve eaten. When you have a flat small piece of meat on your plate it seems like you’ve been deprived. If you slice the meat thinly and stack it on your plate, it appears to be a bigger portion, so you think you’ve eaten more. This works for vegetables as well. A small potato sliced up will look larger. You’ll think you’re eating more than you really are.
9. Marinade without oil
If you marinade in oil, the oil is soaked into the food, so naturally, it will be eaten. One recipe for oil-free marinade is to combine apple juice (about 3 cups) pressed
garlic (2 cloves) and soy sauce that is reduced sodium (about 1 cup). Marinating in a healthy manner can greatly reduce the amount of fat you intake.
10. Stuff food
If you fill the centers of your food with wholesome ingredients, you’ll be eating as much food, but reducing your caloric intake. Here are a few examples of this:
• Take your hamburger and scoop a hole in the middle of the meat before you cook it. Fill it with some type of vegetables such as: mushrooms, olives, or whatever else you like. Then, if you’ve used the recommended serving size of three ounces, you’ve made it look much bigger, made it be more filling, and made it much leaner. If you would have added more ounces of hamburger to make it that size, it would have been much less healthy.
• Stuff your meatballs with grated carrots, zucchini, or squash. This will add vitamins and moisture as well as size to your meatballs without changing the flavor. You’ll be able to make your meatballs bigger, and not add calories and fat.
11. Swap your food
Sometimes, if you stop to think about it, you can think of substituting something healthier for something full of fat in your favorite recipes. By doing that, you’ll be keeping that fat from settling in your mid section and reducing that dreaded belly fat. Here are a few examples to get your started:
• When you make curry, use plain yogurt instead of coconut milk which is full of fat. You’ll get a good, creamy texture, but you won’t have all the fat.
• Replace two slices of bread with one piece of pita bread— Folding a piece of pita bread will allow you to put more vegetables on your sandwich. More vegetables make it more filling, and you’ll be making a sandwich that is much healthier.
• Replace red meat with lentils—In foods such as lasagna, only use about half the amount of ground beef. Add red lentils to make it filling. They’re packed with protein, fat free, and high in fiber. The flavor of red lentils is neutral, so they’ll just absorb the flavor of your sauce and you won’t notice the difference.
• Substitute “turkey” versions of your favorite meat—You can have turkey ham, turkey burger, turkey hot dogs, turkey bologna, or even turkey pepperoni. Turkey isn’t near as high in fat as other meats. You’ll have the flavor of the other meats without that added fat to carry around.
12. Change the toppings on your pizza
If you must have pepperoni on your pizza, consider adding at least two vegetable toppings. If you do this for every meat ordered as a topping, you’ll have a healthier pizza. The carcinogens in meats that are processed have been found to increase your risk of cancer, so you’ll not only be reducing your belly fat, you’ll be improving your health.
13. Use oats to stuff meat recipes
Use oats that are in the same amount of other things you fill with such as crackers or bread crumbs. Not only are oats better for you, because they have high fiber content, they taste the same, and can help you reduce your cholesterol.
14. Use a healthier, low-fat recipe to replace your “fish-n-chips” recipe
Use white fish such as cod or haddock and cut it into strips. Use sparkling water and self-rising flour for a light batter mix. Fry the strips in a small amount of canola oil. Instead of deep fried french fries, cut potatoes and bake at 450 degrees in canola oil that you season with things like: herbs, salt, garlic, etc.
15. Reduce cheese in your toppings
If you have a recipe that calls for a grated cheese topping, you can reduce fat and add fiber by replacing half of the cheese with whole-wheat bread crumbs. The crumbs keep the texture of the baked cheese, so you won’t know the difference.
16. Eat deli meats that are healthier
Deli meats aren’t all bad, you just need to learn to eat the healthier ones. In order of health, first would be chicken or turkey. Second is roast beef. Third is ham. Lastly, are all the other processed deli meats such as bologna, salami, olive loaf, etc.
17. Don’t drown your food
You may or may not be old enough to remember Timer from the science portion of School House Rock watched in your Saturday morning cartoons. If you do, then you know he had a slogan: Don’t drown your food in catsup or mayo
or goo. It’s no fun to eat what you can’t even see, so don’t drown your food! How many times have you seen someone prepare a nice, healthy salad only to pile on so much fattening dressing that it’s no longer healthy? People will also pile on so much gravy that a lean piece of roast beef or turkey becomes unhealthy. Topping with meat natural juices instead or using extra virgin olive oil that is seasoned on salads will keep your food healthy and won’t sacrifice the taste.
18. Don’t eat tuna salad with a lot of fattening mayonnaise
Instead, you can add hot sauce, lemon juice, and pepper to your tuna. It tastes great and adds no fat.
19. Use grated cheese instead of slices
Grate hard cheeses such as Parmesan on your sandwiches. You’ll get all the cheese flavor with much less fat.
20. Have meals without meat
I’m not saying go totally Vegan, but every meal doesn’t have to be a “meat and potato” meal. Eat vegetarian lasagna and go without beef. Prepare eggplant parmesan instead of veal parmesan. You’ll be taking in less fat, so there’ll be less fat to stay around your middle.
21. Use squash instead of a lot of cheese
By adding pureed butternut squash to half the cheese mixture in foods like macaroni and cheese, quesadillas, or grilled sandwiches will reduce the calorie count without altering the taste of the food. Squash is high
in vitamins and potassium, so not only will your food have less fat and calories, it will be healthier.
22. Use greens to wrap your meat
Instead of eating meats that are between two slices of bread, wrap them in a large lettuce leaf or some other leafy green such as bok choy, romaine lettuce, or Chinese cabbage. You’ll be reducing your intake of carbohydrates that can add belly fat.
23. Use avocados instead of mayonnaise
Ripe avocados will make your sandwich moist like mayonnaise, and have good fat instead of bad fat. This can also lower your cholesterol.
24. Make your pancakes healthier
Cornmeal is healthier than traditional flour. It has a higher fiber content, as well as magnesium. For healthier pancakes, replace half your flour with cornmeal. They’ll have a great texture and be better for you.
25. Make sure you get all the vitamins from your cereal
If you’ve taken the steps to eat healthier breakfast cereals, you probably aren’t getting all the nutrition from it that you should. In order to do so, you need to drink the milk in the bowl. As much as 40 percent of the nutritional vitamins from your cereal will dissolve into the milk, so drinking it makes it healthier for you.
26. Keep frozen bananas on hand
Frozen bananas are great for making smoothies that are healthy and nutritious. They’re sweet, so they eliminate the need for sugary ingredients. Frozen,
they have the cold state for good thick smoothies and won’t go bad quickly like they can if they’re unfrozen.
27. Eat chocolate
Yes, you read correctly. So often, people ignore their cravings for chocolate because they feel it is “bad” for them. Dark chocolate, however, is lower in fat and very high in antioxidants, so eating it will both satisfy your cravings and give you a healthy snack. You can also shave dark chocolate into dishes like barbecue sauce or chili. It gives it a good flavor boost, and will help you prevent heart disease as well as keep your cholesterol at a good level. If you want a good night-time snack, take two tablespoons of dark chocolate and melt it in the microwave. Stir it with 4 ounces of vanilla yogurt and top it with about a tablespoon of almond slivers.
28. Make your dips yourself
Store-bought dips can be very high in fat content and calories. If you prepare your dips yourself, however, you can greatly reduce the fat and calories. Just use fat- free sour cream or yogurt. You can mix it with an equal portion of salsa or add herbs and/or lemon. Whatever flavor you choose will be much healthier for you this way.
29. Purchase nuts that are in shells
If you have to spend time shelling the nuts, you’ll spend less time eating big handfuls of them. Nuts in and of themselves can be healthy, especially pistachios, almonds and walnuts. If, however, you eat too many, they become like any other food you overeat and will cause you to gain weight.
30. Boil your peanuts
If you boil peanuts for a few hours, they will have approximately four times the amount of antioxidants they have prepared any other way. Boiled peanuts are a popular snack already in Asia, China, Australia, and the southern portion of the US. If you haven’t tried them, the next time you want peanuts, give them a try.
31. Balance your baked potatoes
Many people give up baked potatoes because of the high glycemic rating. You can have them, however, if you balance them with a healthy topping like cheddar cheese, broccoli, mushrooms, or spinach.
32. Rinse canned beans
Beans such as kidney beans are a great way to add both fiber and protein to a meal. Canned beans, however, contain a lot of sodium. This can give you a bloated feeling as well as cause high blood pressure. Rinsing them, however, washes away that high sodium content and makes them healthy again.
33. Make your side dishes thicker
If you use evaporated milk that is fat-free in dishes like mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese, you will give them a thicker texture that will seem more filling. In addition to that, you’ll be taking in more calcium per cup without all the fat.
34. Serve yourself water as an appetizer
Water is filling, cleansing, and keeps you properly hydrated. If you drink two glasses of water before each meal, you will fill up quicker and eat less.
35. Add spice to your life
Research has found that people that were overweight will become slimmer if they eat meals that contain Chile peppers. They contain capsaicin. It’s what makes them hot, and it helps the liver clear insulin from your bloodstream after you eat. Since insulin is the hormone that tells your body to store the fat, clearing it from the body can reduce belly fat.
36. Avoid emotional eating
Sometimes people use food as a comfort. When you’re hurt or upset, you turn to food to make you feel better. When you feel like eating just to eat and you know you’re not hungry, substitute it with something else like going on a bike. If you must eat something, make it fresh fruits or vegetables.
While exercise is an essential part of weight loss, you should realize that exercises that target your abdominal area won’t help you burn the fat. They will define the muscles there, but in order to achieve those abs, you first have to get rid of all the fat you have in your belly. Here are a few tips you can use to exercise your way to less belly fat:
Try to get in at least 10,000 steps each and every day. If you have a sedentary job, this may be difficult for you. Schedule a time and place to do brisk walking every day. If you can’t, then choose a few other walking activities like parking at the far end of the parking lot at work or when you go to grocery or department stores. Take the steps instead of the elevator.
38. Aerobic exercise or aerobic dancing
Aerobics are a great way to get a good cardio workout. You can do this in a group, such as a class, or get an exercise video and do them in the privacy of your own home. Whichever way you choose, getting up your cardio rate will help your body burn fat. The exercise or dancing part of the aerobic exercise will help reduce fat and build muscle.
39. Ride a bike
Biking, when done at a cardio pace, is a great way to get a good workout and burn calories. Many people who don’t have the time in their busy days to do a workout get their exercise from biking to and from work each day. You can jump start your metabolism each morning with a good ride, and then reduce stress of a hectic day on the ride home.
Jogging isn’t for everyone, but many people stay fit and trim from jogging. You can do this outdoors, on an indoor track, or on a treadmill. If you’re over 50, you want to check with your physician to be sure you’re physically fit for jogging. Many times the jar from jogging on the knees, hips, and/or back can be harmful to those with problems. Once you’ve got a clean bill of health, “Run Forest, Run!”
41. Take a martial arts class
Martial arts classes are good for cardio workouts, muscle definition, and self defense. They can also be a lot of fun. If you’re hesitant to join a class alone, talk a friend into joining with you.
42. Weight training or Pilates
Either of these, in conjunction with a good cardio workout, can help you build muscle. Muscle will burn calories. You can find free weight training workouts for beginners to advanced, and Pilates classes are available for all levels as well. Cardio three to five times a week with a good weight training program will help you burn overall body fat, and that includes that dreaded belly fat.
43. Breath control exercises
Another for of supplemental exercise is breath control exercises that are good for the abdominal region. Yoga is a prime example. Though it is optional, and not essential for reducing belly fat, it is a simple way to strengthen the abdominal area and remove inches from your waistline.
44. Keep good posture
Although you might not realize it, you use many core muscles simply to hold yourself up straight in good posture. Keeping good posture while tightening your stomach muscles can strengthen both the back muscles and the abdominal muscles.
45. Simple leg lifts
To tighten the abdominal muscles, lay flat on your back. Raise your feet about two inches off the ground and hold it to a slow count of ten. Lower your feet and then do it again. Try to do this at least 10 times a day. It is a simple basic way to begin to strengthen weakened abdominal muscles.
46. Try exercising in small bursts
Research shows that alternating bursts of energy, just small ones, with brief resting periods can not only improve your muscle tone and burn calories, but it can also build endurance. This is a good way to get started and build up to the more serious exercises. You might try sprinting. Just run as fast as you can for around 20 seconds. Walk until your breathing returns to normal, and do it again. If you do this for about 10 minutes a day, you’ll be on your way to a good start.
Set your exercise equipment for interval training – In this mode, it increases the difficulty for short periods and then returns to normal. It gives you the effect of exercising in small bursts by using machines.
47. Snack first
If you’re going out for a business dinner or to a party of some kind, eat a healthy, high-protein snack before you
go. This will make you less hungry, and will allow you to eat smaller portions of the more fattening foods.
48. Fit some type of exercise into your normal work day
This can be difficult for some people. It all depends on the type of job you have. You might set aside your lunch hours for walking. If that’s not possible, plan five minutes out of each day for a power walk. Take long, brisk strides when you walk down the hall or go up and down stairs.
49. Stretch the sides of your waist
With one arm over your head, lean as far as you can to the opposite side. Then switch hands. This will strengthen the muscles of your waistline. It will tone them, and remember, muscle burns fat, so having good muscle tone is important.
50. When all else fails, there’s always surgery
If you’ve tried everything and you just can’t get rid of your belly fat, there are two types of surgery you could consider.
• Tummy tuck—This is also referred to as an abdominoplasty. It takes out the excessive fat and skin you have stored in your mid section. It can usually reestablish weakened muscles which gives you an abdominal area that is firmer.
• Panniculectomy—This can be done by itself or along with an abdominoplasty. It removes any overhanging skin and tissue known as an “apron” from below the naval. This skin usually occurs when people have had excessive weight loss.
If you have overhanging skin, it can cause you a lot of problems. Obviously, it would pull on your back, causing back pain. It can also cause hygiene problems, and yeast infections. Sometimes cysts develop in the folds. If you have this overhanging skin, it shouldn’t be ignored.