Here’s How to Get Rid of Belly Fat in Healthy, Sustainable Way

Diet Men's Health Women's Health

Week 1: SWOT up on quickest way to lose belly fat

It may seem surprising that your first port of call in how to get rid of belly pooch isn’t stripping back calories and hitting the home HIIT workouts, hard. But, when it comes to losing belly fat, there are other, more important, triggers that, left unchecked, could trip you up before you’ve even left the starting blocks.

De-stress

‘Stress may be an evolutionary response that helps keep us alive,’ says performance nutritionist and qualified dietitian, Tom Irving, ‘but frequent and persistent doses can elevate cortisol levels, which is both inflammatory as well as antilipolytic (anti-fat burning). We also tend to overeat when we are stressed.’

And US researchers agree, with their findings showing that, in the simplest terms, if you’re highly strung, like, always – you’re far less likely to lose unwanted belly fat. Try these tricks for combating stress symptoms.

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Sleep well

Don’t underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep, too. Yes, it can help combat under eye bags but, according to the University of Leeds, adults who get more than six hours of sleep per night are likely to carry 3cm less around their waist.ADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW

Head to bed (and eat your dinner) earlier and follow the WH “how to get to sleep” guide to ensure a lack of shut-eye doesn’t hold your belly fat loss back.

Step outside

According to Luke Hughes, Origym PT, a lack of sunlight can increase levels of belly fat. Indeed, findings presented at the European Society of Endocrinology annual meeting, revealed that, in women, both total and abdominal fat were associated with lower levels of vitamin D.

In addition to sunlight, vitamin D can be obtained from food and supplements. Check out nutritionist Rob Hobson’s guide to overcoming a vitamin D deficiency.

Don’t check your belly or waist fat out everyday

‘Remember that scales don’t take into account muscle mass so the best way to check your progress is by taking pictures,’ says Belalij. ‘Take them in the morning under the same lighting and compare your physique each week.

‘If you check your belly in the mirror every day, chances are you won’t notice any differences, which could be disheartening.’

Week 2: Learn how to lose belly fat naturally

‘When it comes to knowing how to get rid of belly fat, the next best to start, is to watch what you eat,’ Belalij says.

Which means, sadly, the more glasses of rosé and chocolate-coated pretzels you eat, the longer it will take to reach your flatter belly goals.

‘When you digest large amounts of calories, your body allocates some of these to functional systems which work to keep you alive (think the brain, muscles and organs),’ says Belalij. ‘It also uses it to fill up energy stores. Any excess is then stored in fat cells around the body – typically being those of the belly.’

When eating out swap your usual dishes for healthier options – both Pizza Express and Nandos now have highly nutritious options.

Worried about the price of healthy eating? Stock up on cheap, healthy snacks – by having healthier food in the house you’re less likely to face plant the sugary stuff when hunger strikes.

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The best diet plan for losing fat

‘Include lots of nutrient-rich vegetables, a source of protein and some healthy, unprocessed carbs,’ says Belalij. ‘Start with leafy greens such as spinach, kale and collard greens, then add carrots, broccoli and peas.

‘Lean meats, including turkey and chicken, are ideal as they are lower in fat and therefore calories, or, if you are vegetarian/vegan, add in tofu or a handful of nuts such as pine, cashew or almonds and a sprinkling of seeds (sunflower, sesame, pumpkin).

‘When it comes to carbohydrates, rice, quinoa and potatoes are perfect.’

Foods to limit if you want to lose fat

  • Processed foods: Dense in calories, carbs, fats and sugars, these are essentially a belly fat inducing combination – typically they’re nutritionally unsatisfying but mood-wise pretty feel good, meaning you can’t help but eat more. And more.
  • Alcohol: Seven cals per gram may not sound like much but one or two G&Ts later and they soon add up. Plus, because the breakdown of alcohol is prioritised, its energy quickly tops up glycogen supplies with the remainder being stored as fat.
  • Inflammatory foods: This could be types of sugar or simply any food that doesn’t agree with you, as this causes your stomach to flare up, sending the body into panic mode and increasing fat storage as a safety mechanism.
  • Sauces and dressing: Read unnecessary hidden calories. Flavour your food with calorie-free herbs and spices, instead.

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