Are you wondering how to lose belly fat fast? Well, you’re not alone. Everybody seems to be looking for the most effective ways to shed the extra pounds, as evidenced by the billion-dollar weight loss industry in the U.S. alone.
Belly fat or visceral fat is not bad. Even thin people have it. This fat is usually found deep within your abdomen, covering your internal organs to serve as a cushion.
Of course, too much of this will not only destroy your perfect figure, but it will also cause serious health problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. So let’s go ahead and talk about how to burn belly fat without resorting to weight loss pills, risky surgery, or restrictive diets.
How to lose belly fat in a week without exercise
Focus on changing your eating habits with foods that burn belly fat
Genes, hormones, metabolic disorders, and aging all play crucial roles in determining how easy or hard you’ll lose the pesky belly fat. But it’s your poor food choices and habits that usually create this problem.
For instance, a lot of people skip meals, thinking it would help them cut down on their caloric intake and lose weight during the process.
When you skip meals, the metabolism goes into a kind of hibernation mode. It tries to preserve energy, thus burn fewer calories, which you’re dying to get rid of. A study showed that overweight Latino youth who regularly eat breakfast experienced decreased accumulation of fat around their abdominal area.
It’s time to raid your fridge and pantry. Get rid of dairy products, refined sugars, processed foods, fried foods, refined grains (e.g. white rice), trans fatty foods (e.g. cakes and donuts), and other foods that promote belly fat. Then start filling your plate with fat-burning foods, like the following:
1. Fight belly fat with good fats
Fats can be your greatest allies when it comes to trimming the waistline. Specifically, foods rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (also called as MUFAs or monounsaturated fats).
Monounsaturated fatty acids are considered heart-friendly because they’re easier to metabolize. They also have the ability to decrease the numbers of bad cholesterol notoriously known as low-density lipoproteins and preserve (or possibly boost) the levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL), the “good” cholesterols.
MUFAs also contain antioxidants. An example of this is vitamin E. A diet that’s abundant in monounsaturated fatty acids may possibly stop the buildup of abdominal fat (visceral fat), said the 2007 study published in the journal Diabetes Care.
Chad Paton and his colleagues were really intrigued about the enzyme found in the skeletal muscles of obese people that helps break down saturated fats. So, they did a clinical trial on genetically modified mice to see what this enzyme does. This enzyme is actually known as SCD1, which is able to change saturated fat into monounsaturated fatty acid.
By the end of the study, the researchers found out that monounsaturated fatty acids were able to help the mice burn fat quicker by increasing their basal metabolic rate, which indicates the amount of calories your body burns at rest. These genetically modified mice also have increased capacity to exercise and weighed less.
Here’s a list of foods rich in monounsaturated fatty acids:
|Shelled macadamia nuts||61 grams/100 grams|
|Olive oil||73 grams/100 grams|
|Shelled hazelnuts||50 grams/100 grams|
|Rapeseed oil||59 grams/100 grams|
|Sesame oil||38 grams/100 grams|
|Groundnut oil||44 grams/100 grams|
|Corn oil||30 grams/100 grams|
|Shelled almonds||35 grams/100 grams|
Source: The Food Chart.com
2. Drinking green tea can help
Regular drinking of green tea is a good regimen to start. A lot of human and animal studies show that it helps to boost metabolism, so you can burn your unwanted belly fat.
What are its secret fat-burning chemical compounds? Experts say it contains a kind of catechin called Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), which is responsible for enhancing your metabolic rate.
The catechins in green tea are effective, but they can’t prevent the accumulation of visceral fat at low doses.
To prove this, scientists gave 240 participants different doses of green tea catechins. The control group (117 participants) received 96 milligrams of catechins per day and the other group (123 participants) received 583 milligrams of catechins per day for 3 months. They didn’t alter their physical activities or usual diet.
The result confirmed what I said earlier. Those who regularly ingest green tea high in catechins reduced their hipline, waistline, and belly fat. Not only that, there was a decreased in their blood pressure (systolic) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterols (the “bad” cholesterols), which suggests green tea lowers your risk for heart diseases.
In one study, only a higher dose of green tea aqueous extract (2 percent) was able to markedly reduce weight gain and stop the accumulation of abdominal fats in rats.
Is green tea enough to make you lose a huge amount of belly fat?
Personally, I don’t think so. It works, but it would need the help of other weight loss aids, like healthy diet and exercise, to enhance its beneficial effects.
3. Include more whole grains to your daily diet
I know how hard it is to resist foods rich in simple carbs, refined sugar, and refined grains, but it’s best to choose the healthier option. If it’s between white and whole wheat bread, for instance, pick the whole wheat one.
Some of the foods made from whole grains include the following:
- Whole grain breakfast cereal
- Whole oats or oatmeal
- Wild rice
- Brown rice
- Whole grain barley
- Whole grain corn
- Whole rye
How much whole grains should you eat to get a flatter tummy?
A study by Tufts University showed that consuming three or more servings of whole grain foods and less than one serving of refined grains (e.g. white breads, white rice, and crackers) may help decrease your belly fat to an average of 10%.
How about eating fiber-rich fruits and veggies instead of whole grains? Well, there seems to be no strong link between these foods and body composition (your fat, bone, and muscle proportion) measurements. However, eating high amounts of cereal fiber made from whole grain sources does, according to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition.
Aside from its belly-fat-busting powers, keeping a whole grain diet keeps C-reactive protein (CRP), which indicates inflammation, at bay. This basically means it can also lower your risk of heart problems.
When buying whole grain products
Don’t be fooled by foods labeled with the words “wheat,” “stoneground,” or “multi-grain.” Because it doesn’t guarantee that what you’re buying is 100% made from whole grains. Make sure the word “whole” plus the name of the grain is stated on the label.
You could also look for the official packaging symbol made by the Whole Grains Council. It’s known as the Whole Grain Stamp, which basically lets people know which products are really made from whole grain sources.
The 100% Stamp means the grain is made entirely from whole grain, while the standard Whole Grain Stamp means you’re getting at least a 50% serving of whole grain per recommended serving size.
How much should you eat per day?
According to the January 2011 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, kids should be given at least two or more servings. Meanwhile, grown-ups are advised to eat a minimum of three to five whole grain servings.
4. Fix yourself a cup of coffee
Do you enjoy drinking coffee?
A few studies show that coffee may possibly get rid of belly fat. Here’s one of the studies.
Researchers were curious about the effect of green coffee bean extract (GCBE) on body weight and the buildup of fats. So for two weeks, they fed mice with a diet that includes green coffee bean extract, which major components are chlorogenic acid and caffeine.
The result of this study revealed that GCBE at 0.5 percent and 1 percent effectively stopped the weight gain and accumulation of fat around the abdomen.
Turns out caffeine (with the help of chlorogenic acid) in GCBE suppressed the mice’s bodies from absorbing fat and triggered the process of breaking down fats in the liver.
How does caffeine work? Like green tea, caffeine also boosts your energy expenditure to burn your stubborn body fat and assist in weight loss.
The truth is there are not a lot of scientific studies that links coffee—or more particularly, caffeine—to weight loss and belly fat elimination. What’s more, available studies don’t always arrive to the same conclusion. Some say coffee aids belly fat loss while others say the opposite.
The naysayers say that acidic foods and beverages, such as coffee, promote weight gain because they stimulate the body to create fat cells, which protects your organs from the excess acid. Caffeinated beverages also increase the levels of your cortisol, the stress hormone, which is a cue for your body to retain fat.
5. Effectively manage your stress levels
Speaking of stress, this is one of the possible reason why you’re putting on more tummy fat. People who are stressed out are at risk of gaining more weight because they tend to make unhealthy food choices.
What’s interesting is your belly fat may be your body’s way of coping with stress. At least that’s what an animal study revealed.
The study involved two groups of rats, which were fed the same diet (healthy rat chow and sugar water). The difference was that the rats in another group were more stressed out and confined in a space for brief periods of time during the day.
As expected, their stress hormone levels were more elevated. They started drinking more sugar water rather than the healthy rat chow. When these rats started putting on more abdominal fat, their stress hormones also started going down.
These were rats. How about people?
Even non-overweight men and women are prone to belly fat due to stress. There was this three-day study led by Elissa S. Epel, Ph.D. that focused on the responses of pre-menopausal, normal-weight women and overweight women with stress. The researchers found out that lean women with stomach fat tend to have amplified reactions to cortisol, a stress hormone. What’s more, they observed that women with more belly fat are more moody and stressed out.
Everyone’s constantly exposed to stress. That’s for sure. But researchers of this study suggested that some people are more prone to producing cortisol hormones whenever they encounter the same stressor(s) compared to other people.
Men are also affected by stress. The only difference between men and (pre-menopausal) women is the latter tend to store their body fats at the hips rather than at the abdomen.
Stress management tips
- Cultivate a healthy mindset.
Stress is part of life but try to change your view about things. All the negative emotions will drain your energy. Make it a habit to see the positives instead of the negatives.
- Know your hot-button topics.
What topics make your blood boil? I think it’s pretty obvious you should steer clear from them. I know that’s easier said than done, but think about it. If you allow yourself to engage in hot-button conversations, you’re the one who’s going to end up stressed out.
- Don’t keep a lid on your emotions.
Allow yourself to express your emotions and opinions (calmly and respectfully, of course). Learn the art of constructive confrontation, if you’re afraid of conflicts.
- Get more than five hours of sleep each night.
This recommendation is based on a study that appeared in the journal Sleep. The authors found out that individuals, who were younger than forty, have more belly fat over a five-year time frame. These individuals usually sleep for five hours or less every night.
Can you guess how many hours of sleep you need to avoid accumulation of fat around your belly? Based on their observations, it’s six to seven hours. But you shouldn’t exceed more than seven hours; because those who slept for eight hours or more gained fat, too.
Just to make things clear. The findings of this study don’t say that sleeping less or more would immediately cause great accumulation of belly fat. The study serves only as a support for other studies that also associate length of sleep with weight gain and other life-threatening diseases.
- Learn how to perform yogic breathing.
Breathing techniques help to calm your nerves and clear your mind. According to a medical article, Sudarshan Kriya yoga, an intense sequence of rhythmic breathing techniques, is an effective tool for fighting different types of stress and mood disorders.
Sudarshan Kriya Yoga steps
- Assume the Thunderbolt Pose. First, go down on your knees, with your back straight, feet flat on the floor, and ankles facing outward.
- The Sudarshan Kriya involves three cycles. In the first cycle, you need to relax and inhale and exhale. Make sure the duration is of equal length. In the second cycle, you should exhale twice as long compared to your inhalation. Do the reverse in the third cycle.
6. If nothing else works, choose exercises for belly fat that work for you
Of course, we can’t take physical activity out of the equation. Time to move that body to get a flat belly!
“But wait, what’s the best exercise for burning belly fat?”
Admittedly, there’s really no one-size-fits-all workout. But there was this one study, which suggested that a combination of aerobics and resistance training is effective against abdominal fat.
This study involved thirty obese women. On Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, the participants assigned in the combination group were asked to perform aerobics. They did resistance training on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
By the end of the study, this group burned more abdominal fat and subcutaneous fat compared to the aerobics only group. What’s more, both groups improved their cholesterol profile. Meaning, their good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein) levels markedly increased while their bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein), triglyceride, and total cholesterol levels were markedly decreased.
What are aerobics and resistance exercises?
An example of resistance training is weight lifting. The purpose of this kind of workout is to make your body more toned and stronger. On the other hand, aerobic exercises, also known as cardio workouts, target your large muscle groups and are created to improve blood circulation and speed up your breathing and heart rate.
Cardio workouts, like aerobics, walking, and jogging, are apparently not entirely good for you.
For one, you only burn fats during the actual exercise. What’s worse, the repetitive movements will eventually take a toll on your bones and joints. You’ll put yourself at risk for what’s known as overuse injury, which is responsible for almost fifty percent of youth sports injuries in the U.S.
Here’s an alternative: high-intensity intermittent exercise (HIIE) or high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
High-intensity interval training is widely used for weight loss. Doing HIIE or HIIT at least thrice a week for fifteen weeks seems to greatly help dissolve the fats in your body trunk and legs, according to the results of one study. Typically, this kind of exercise lasts for 20 minutes or less and done not more than three times a week.
What’s so great about it? After working out, you still continuously burn off fats for up to 24 hours even if you’re just sitting on your couch the entire time.
Warning: Do not attempt to try this type of exercise if you…
- Are not in good physical shape
- Are a beginner
- Took a break from working out for quite some time
It’s not advisable to do this more than that’s recommended by the experts, which is no more than three sessions each week. And it shouldn’t be done on consecutive days.
What’s the reason behind this? HIIT is an intense kind of workout technique. It burns so much of your muscles’ energy, so your body needs time to re-energize and recover. If you push yourself too hard, you’ll have a greater chance of hurting yourself.
7. Final thoughts on how to get rid of belly fat
Visceral fat, or more commonly known as belly fat, is not bad at all. Your internal organs need it as a cushion. It’s excess visceral fat that’s the problem, as what I’ve previously mentioned. It’s a major risk factor for serious health issues, like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Take out your measuring tape right now. Get your waist size. It shouldn’t be more than 35 inches (for women) or 40 inches (for men). If it is, it’s time you take concrete steps to trimming your abdominal area.
The major components for getting rid of belly fat and weight loss are basically the same: diet and exercise. It’s just a matter of choosing those that will suit your unique needs. Of course, discipline and your 100% commitment to this purpose are vital, too.
Be physically active, develop healthy eating habits, lifestyle, and de-stress always to get rid of your unattractive belly fat.
Got other ideas on how to lose belly fat quickly? Your opinion matters, so don’t forget to leave your comment(s) below!