Who doesn’t love a good chat about belly fat?
Yeah I know: we’d much rather just get rid of it than talk about it, right?
Well, good news: only a few more minutes of discussing how to lose belly fat in this piece, and you should start seeing actual fat loss results.
Many of the techniques mentioned here you may have seen before, such as a popular type of interval training that can help you lose weight more than other methods, but some are highly overlooked in the weight loss game.
I’m diving into these methods quickly and efficiently with recommendations on how to implement them so you can start ASAP.
Let’s get it.
Top Ways To Lose Belly Fat
1. Remove Processed Foods
You’ve most likely heard it many times before, and you’re going to hear it from me again here: diet is key to losing any type of body fat, including belly fat.
The reason this rings true as a foundational principle of fat loss is due to two things found in processed foods: excess sugar and/or other added chemicals, preservatives, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and potential endocrine disruptors.
Let’s discuss sugar first. Now, when we say “sugar,” we definitely mean actual sugars, as in cane sugar and its variations such as corn syrup, agave nectar, brown sugar, etc … but we’re also including processed carbs such as flours and simple starches. This is because at the end of the day in your digestive tract, all of these sugars minus fructose are broken down into glucose molecules that affect your body the same way.
When we eat sugars, our blood sugar spikes. If this was a normal, natural meal and we are relatively active, our body would use all of these sugars in our bloodstream for energy; nothing wold be stored. Natural foods also contain fiber, which would slow this sugar spike so our body could use the sugars for energy at a steady pace.
However, when we consume processed sugars, this blood sugar spike is much higher and very immediate. Since our bodies are flooded with so much sugar with no place to go (and it isn’t being burned off) our body begins to store it as, you guessed it, fat.
The more processed food we “hit” our body with, the more we encourage it to store more fat.
When we combine this with the intense amount of preservatives and other chemicals in processed foods that have shown in some studies to disrupt our hormones (and thus possibly effect our ability to efficiently burn fat), we can see why it’s in our best interest to stick to whole, fresh foods. [*]
Processed foods to avoid:
• Cookies, cakes, flours, pastas, breads, muffins
• Candies, candy bars, high-sugar chocolate
• Syrups and added flavors; agave and raw sugar
• Canned fruits in syrups, dried fruits, fruit juices
• Soda (even the “healthy” versions – they still contain sugar)
Foods to focus on:
• All types of fresh vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, fennel, carrots, etc…
• Wild fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, and cod
• Wild and organic meats like chicken, turkey, beef, vension, etc…
• Leafy greens like kale, spinach, chard
• A small amount of nuts and seeds; nut butters
• Extra virgin olive and coconut oils
• Spices and herbs
2. Switch Up Your Training
Specifically, if you’ve found you’ve hit a plateau in your fat loss journey, try high-intensity interval training, or HIIT.
HIIT has been studied as one of the best and most efficient ways to torch fat due to its ability to mobilize fat (in other words, to get it moving out of your body!), create positive changes in your mitochondria to optimize fat burning, and help you burn more fat even when you’re not working out. [*][*]
In fact, studies show that people who perform HIIT workouts burn more fat than those who stick to the standard long cardio sessions. [*] This is also one of the reasons many of my workouts and programs use this style of training.
3. Reduce Stress
Believe it or not, stress can cause your body to hold on to, and even store, fat.
Specifically, the stress hormone cortisol is known for causing fat gain around the belly (not fun). Studies have even shown that high cortisol levels can predict future weight gain. [*] One of the reasons this happens is because cortisol can also raise your insulin levels, which mirrors what happens when you eat too much sugar: it puts the body in a position to store more fat.
Some daily stress relievers to try:
• Go for a 10-15 minute walk in nature daily, if possible
• Try deep breathing, focusing on breathing into your belly fully, then exhaling completely, for 5-10 minutes a day
• Take up yoga
• Diffuse relaxation-promoting essential oils like lavender throughout the day
• Consider taking adaptogen herbs like ashwagandha or rhodioloa rosea, which can help your body better adapt to stress and reduce your cortisol levels
4. Get Enough Sleep
This is a big one that isn’t often discussed in fat loss talks, but sleep is extremely important for weight loss.
Studies show that lack of sleep can not only raise cortisol levels, but is also associated with obesity and the development of diseases like Type II diabetes and metabolic syndrome (both of which are also separately associated with obesity).
In addition, research also shows lack of sleep can increase hunger and appetite, both of which don’t bode well for weight loss. [*]
Make sure to get in 7-8 good hours of sleep every night. If you’re having trouble following or staying asleep, try:
• Getting rid of ALL light in your room. Any form of lights can immediately disrupt hormones that keep you asleep.
• Establish a sleep routine.
• Avoid electronics an hour before bed, as this can also disrupt sleep hormones.
• Don’t drink caffeine after 3 p.m.
• Try herbs like valerian root and chamomile.
5. Eat Belly-Fat-Torching Foods
Several foods have shown in studies to actually help boost your metabolic rate, optimize fat burn, and even help suppress your appetite. Some, like coconut oil, can even increase the amount of fat you burn just by adding it into your regime. [*]
Try to eat more of the following:
• Coconut oil (One tablespoon per day)
• Olive Oil (One tablespoon per day)
• Wild fatty fish like salmon and sardines
• Eggs (these are super appetite suppressors!)
• Apple cider vinegar
• Chili peppers
As you can see, the techniques listed here are also simply some of the foundational principles of living a healthy life. This is because more often than not, health and physique go hand-in-hand. Know that when you switch up your diet for the better, or truly commit to getting enough sleep, you’re not only sweet talking your body into getting abs … you’re also sweet talking it into living longer.