Is your favorite pair of jeans feeling a bit extra snug? Blame it on the stubborn belly fat that has refused to leave your side and made you ditch your favorite dress.
- What is Belly Fat?
- Causes of Gaining Belly Fat
- Why is it Necessary to Reduce Fat?
- Remedies for Reducing Fat
- Method 1: Exercises and Yoga to Lose Belly Fat
- Method 2: Diet Changes to Lose Fat
- Method 3: Home Remedies to Lose Fat
- Tips to help you lose belly fat
What is Belly Fat?
There are different types of tummy fat:
- Subcutaneous fat: Subcutaneous fat lies under your skin and muscles and does not pose any direct threat to your health. This kind of loose fat develops as a result of your dietary choices, your level of regular physical activity as well as genetic factors.
This type of fat is quite noticeable around the abdomen, buttocks, and thighs and appears dimpled like cellulite.
- Intramuscular fat: Intramuscular fat tends to accumulate within the skeletal muscles in the form of lipid droplets. The main cause for this fat storage is inactivity which causes the body to store the extra calories in the low form density lean adipose tissue within individual muscles.
- Visceral fat: Unlike subcutaneous fat, visceral fat is barely noticeable since it’s stored deep within the abdominal cavity, packed around vital organs such as stomach, liver, kidneys, etc.
This variant of fat, also known as intra-abdominal or belly fat, can have serious health implications in the long run. As a general rule of thumb, 10% of all body fat is considered to be visceral. It can actively increase the risk of serious health problems.
Causes of Gaining Belly Fat
- Maintaining a healthy gut is vital to keeping your immune system working at its best and thereby stave off the risk of various diseases.
- An increasingly sedentary lifestyle spells major trouble for your overall health in general, with weight gain issues in particular. The more inactive you are, the fewer calories you burn.
As your body takes in more calories than it uses over time, the extra calories get accumulated in the form of fat to be utilized for energy later. Your belly figures among one of the most common areas which are prone to such fat build-up, which explains your recurrent bulge.
- Eating a diet that is high in protein not only stimulates your metabolism but also helps promote satiety for longer, thereby reducing your appetite.
Conversely, eating less protein and consuming more carbohydrates and fats makes your metabolic rate sluggish and contributes to fat accumulation over time, especially around the belly.
- Stress plays a role in abdominal fat accumulation. The stress hormone, cortisol, can be considered public enemy number one. Elevated cortisol levels increase weight gain, blood pressure, cholesterol, and heart disease.
- Menopausal and post-menopausal women are particularly prone to gaining belly weight primarily due to hampered estrogen levels, which is characteristic of this phase.
As the body secretes significantly less estrogen, the visceral fat which is typically stored in the abdominal cavity gets redirected to the hips and thighs. Some women are more susceptible to this kind of weight gain than others, and even the extent of fat differs from one woman to another.
Why is it Necessary to Reduce Fat?
Visceral fat increases the production of stress hormones and also affects your body’s insulin production. As a result, you stand at the threshold of obesity with increased risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
A waistline above 40 inches (102 cm) in men or 35 inches (88 cm) in women is termed as abdominal obesity.
Remedies for Reducing Fat
Before we dwell further into how to get rid of belly fat, it is important to understand that spot reduction won’t reap any result if you are targeting your belly bulge.
There are certain exercises that can help you strengthen and tone your abdominal muscles. But these need to be done along with full body workouts and strength training for best results. There are also few home remedies that can aid your quest for fat loss.
Read on to learn how to lose belly fat fast with exercise, diet, and home remedies.
Method 1: Exercises and Yoga to Lose Belly Fat
Cardio workouts include walking, running, swimming, and jogging and are effective in targeting visceral fat. However, the intensity of performing is more important than the type of cardio you choose.
Doing moderate-intensity cardio for 30 minutes, 5 days a week, or high-intensity cardio for 20 minutes, 3 days a week, reduces belly fat effectively.
To get you started, here are a handful of exercises and yoga poses you can try along with cardio to get rid of belly fat. These help boost your metabolism and strengthen core to reduce belly fat.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and foot resting on the floor. You can also raise your legs keeping them parallel to the floor.
- Place your hands behind your head.
- Inhale while resting on the floor, then exhale as you lift your upper torso.
- Inhale again as you go back and repeat.
- If you are starting off, begin with 10 reps and gradually increase to 2 to 3 sets every day.
If you start getting comfortable with basic crunches, modify to twist crunch. Keep your knees bent. Lift your right shoulder toward the left, keeping the left side of your torso on the ground and vice versa.
Also, don’t jerk your head forward. This will put pressure on your neck and result in pain.
- Get down on the floor in a push-up position with your forearms and toes balancing the body weight (as shown in the image).
- Keep your spine straight and your neck aligned with the spine.
- Hold the posture for 30 seconds while breathing normally, and then relax for 10 to 15 seconds.
- You can also lift one leg on the top and bring it down again to increase resistance.
- Repeat it 3 times daily along with other exercises.
C. Low Belly Leg Reach
- Lie on your back with your knees bent 90 degree and your hands placed behind your head.
- Inhale and lift your upper torso off the ground. Hold it for 5 seconds.
- Exhale and extend your legs, keeping them high at 45 degrees. Hold for another 5 seconds.
- Keep your core sucked in a while holding the position.
- Slowly bring your upper torso back to the ground and lower down your legs.
- Relax for 10 seconds and repeat again.
- Do 15 repetitions every day for a week, and then gradually increase.
D. Russian Twist
- Stay in a seated position and slightly lean your torso backward.
- Keep your legs firm on the ground. You can also lift them to increase the resistance.
- Stretch out and clasp your hands and begin to rotate side to side, touching the ground with your hands as you twist. You can also hold 2-pound weight in your hands and then twist to increase the impact.
- Keep your back flexed and your core engaged as you twist from one side to the other.
- Start with 10 repetitions and increase to 2 to 3 sets each side when you start getting comfortable.
E. Flutter Kicks
- Lie down on your back with your shoulders raised off the floor.
- Rest your hands on the floor with palms facing down.
- Now, raise your legs about 6 inches off the floor. Squeeze in your abdominal muscles and make small and rapid scissors such as motions with the legs.
- Do 2 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.
A. Cobra Posture (Bhujangasana)
Also known as Bhujangasana, this yoga pose helps strengthen abs and lose belly fat. It also strengthens your spine and makes it more flexible.
- Lie flat on your stomach with your legs stretched out. Place your palms below your shoulders.
- As you inhale, raise your upper torso and bend backward.
- Keep your chin up, shoulders firm and arch your back till a comfortable position.
- Hold the position for 15 to 20 seconds. Keep breathing deeply.
- Exhale and bring your upper body back to the ground.
- Stay in a resting position for 10 seconds, and then repeat.
- Do it 5 times every day.
B. Bow Posture (Dhanurasana)
Also known as Dhanurasana, this yoga pose works on your core. It also helps open up your hunched shoulders and chest and, as a result, improves body posture.
- Lie down straight on your stomach.
- Exhale and bend your knees in, keeping them hip-width apart.
- Now, reach out for your ankles with your hands and lift them.
- Inhale and raise your chest and thighs together making a bow shape, as shown in the above figure.
- Look forward and hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds.
- Release your ankles as you exhale and lie down straight for a few seconds.
- Repeat the pose 2 to 3 times.
C. Pontoon Posture (Naukasana)
Also known as Naukasana, this yoga pose targets belly fat near the waistline. Additionally, it strengthens your legs and back.
- Lie on your back with your legs stretched out but together, and your arms resting on your sides.
- Inhale and raise your legs as high as you can, without bending your knees.
- Now, lift your arms to reach your toes and create a 45-degree angle with your body.
- Hold this pose for 15 seconds while breathing normally.
- Exhale and come back to resting position.
- Do it 5 times every day.
D. Wind Easing Posture (Pavanamukthasana)
Also known as Pavanamukthasana, this yoga pose helps tone the abs, thighs, and hips, as well as relieve lower back pain. This pose can also help you to pass gas and if you’re suffering from bloating.
- Lie flat on your back, keeping the legs straight and arms at your side.
- Inhale and slowly lift the legs and bend the knee.
- Bring the legs to your chest till your thighs touch your stomach.
- Firmly hug your knees and try to touch them with your nose tip. You may not be able to do this in the first go, but it will come to you with regular practice.
- Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds and extend the time limit according to your capacity.
- Now, exhale and slowly come back to the original position.
- Do 3 to 5 times each day.
Method 2: Diet Changes to Lose Fat
A. Control Your Sweet Tooth
Eating excess sugar and consuming sugary drinks overloads the liver with fructose. As a result, the liver fails to metabolize it and turns most of it into fat.
If you cannot eliminate sugar from your diet, consider minimizing the consumption of sugary drinks, juices, and desserts to lose belly fat. (4)
B. Eat More Protein
Eating high-protein breakfasts such as eggs along with whole-grain toast is a good way to start your day when trying to reduce your pooch. Protein helps reduce cravings and makes you feel full for longer by reducing the levels of ghrelin (hunger hormone) in your body. (5)
You also burn more calories while digesting protein compared to fats or carbohydrates. Foods such as eggs, lean meat, seafood, beans, low-fat dairy, nuts, and soy can be included in your diet.
C. Cut down carbs from your diet
Avoid eating refined carbs such as white bread and pasta, as they are high in carbs and low on fiber. A low-carb diet also helps in losing water weight, giving you instant results.
Low-carb diet also helps control blood sugar and blood pressure and increases levels of good cholesterol in your body. (6)
D. Consume foods rich in fiber
Consuming fiber reduces your appetite and will make you take in fewer calories. Eating fibrous foods such as beans (legumes), flax seeds, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and oats helps target the belly fat specifically and reduce the chances of metabolic diseases. (7)
You should also consume more non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, cucumbers, peppers, kale, carrots, spinach.
E. Drink plenty of water
Drinking plenty of water throughout the day keeps your metabolism up and running. It also keeps you full, and as a result, you tend to consume lesser calories.
Drink a glass of water before each meal and around 8 glasses of water in a day. (8)
Method 3: Home Remedies to Lose Fat
These home remedies are no magic and won’t work on their own, even if consumed regularly. They need to be adopted along with a well-balanced diet and regular exercise to fight the unwanted belly fat.
A. Lemon water
More often than not, a stressed liver is responsible for fat accumulation around your waistline. Lemon has numerous health benefits, including its role as a detoxing agent in the body.
It helps to detox your liver, which can then effectively break down fat in your body and reduce belly fat. (9)
Single-Step Treatment: Add fresh lemon juice to warm water and drink
- Squeeze the juice out of the half lemon and pour it into 1 cup of warm water.
- Mix them well.
- Drink this lemon water every morning on an empty stomach.
- Do not drink or eat anything for at least 30 minutes after consuming.
Regular consumption of lemon water alongside proper diet and exercise will produce good results in about 1 month.
B. Ginger tea
Ginger is a natural appetite suppressant; hence, eating ginger or consuming ginger tea can curb the urge to overeat. It is also a thermogenic agent that increases your body temperature and helps burn fat easily. (10)
Step 1. Add water to a saucepan
- Pour 1½ cups of water in a saucepan and allow it to simmer on medium heat.
- If you are making multiple cups of tea, increase the quantity of water and ginger accordingly.
Step 2. Put the ginger in the water
- After the water starts to simmer, add ¼ cup of ginger slices.
Step 3. Boil the water and let it simmer
- Allow the water to boil for 1 minute, and then cover the pan. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
- For stronger tea, allow it to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or use more ginger slices.
Step 4. Strain the tea
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and strain the tea out in a cup.
- Drink on an empty stomach in the morning and consume at least 2 to 3 cups throughout the day.
Drink ginger tea regularly for 1 month along with the right diet and exercise regimen to observe a significant reduction of belly fat.
C. Cranberry juice
Cranberries contain malic acid, citric acid, and quinic acid that act as emulsifying agents on your stubborn belly fat. Cranberry juice can aid and boost the lymphatic system in detoxing the body, which can be helpful in melting belly fat.
Since cranberry juice will not melt your belly fat on its own, you need to incorporate it into a well-balanced diet. Be sure to go for unsweetened cranberry juice. The artificial sweeteners added to sweetened cranberry juice will not be helpful in your quest to lose belly fat. (11)
- Drink 1 cup of unsweetened cranberry juice every day to melt belly fat.
- Alternatively, you can also top your oatmeal or porridge with fresh cranberries, or snack on a handful of fresh cranberries.
Due to its good nutritional profile, cranberry juice is also said to be helpful in treating urinary tract infection (UTI).
D. Green tea
Step 1. Brew a cup of green tea
- Take a cup of boiling water and dip a bag of green tea into the cup.
- Let it brew for 3 to 5 minutes.
Step 2. Drink 3 to 4 cups of green tea every day
- Remove the tea bag from the cup.
- Drink 3 to 4 cups of green tea every day to reduce belly fat.
Green tea along with following apt diet and exercise plan for at least 1 month will help you to trim belly fat.
E. Cayenne pepper
Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin that not only burns fat fast but also makes it harder to put on fat. (13)
Things you’ll need:
- Cayenne pepper (burns fat) – ½ teaspoon
- Hot water – 1 cup
- Lemon (detoxing agent) – ½
Step 1. Mix cayenne pepper in hot water
- Take 1 cup of hot water.
- Add ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper. You can gradually increase the quantity to 1 teaspoon once you get comfortable with the pepper.
- Stir till the pepper dissolves completely in the water.
Step 2. Squeeze the lemon and consume the pepper tea
- Add juice of a half lemon to the water.
Step 3. Mix well and drink
- Stir well to mix the ingredients.
- Consume the cup of cayenne pepper tea 4 to 5 times in a day up to 10 days to boost your metabolism and initiate weight loss.
Consume cayenne pepper drink while following the right diet and exercise for 1 month or so to get rid of stubborn belly fat.
Tips to help you lose belly fat
- Get adequate sleep of 6 to 8 hours to avoid feeling sluggish throughout the day and indulge in unhealthy eating. Exercising and diet won’t work much if you do not give your body enough time to rest.
- Have 4 to 8 tablespoons of chia seeds during the day to keep you full and prevent you from overeating.
- Don’t skip a meal as you only end up eating more in the subsequent meal.
- Chew your food 20 to 30 times per mouthful so that you eat slowly and, as a result, consume fewer calories.
- Eating in smaller plates helps you consume fewer calories.
- Avoid alcoholic drinks before or during consuming meals to reduce your calorie intake.
- Chewing gum helps lower cravings and resists binge eating by keeping your mouth busy.
- Willis LH, Slentz CA, Bateman LA. Effects of aerobic resistance training on body mass and fat mass in overweight or obese adults. American Physiological Society Journal. https://www.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/japplphysiol.01370.2011. Published December 15, 2012.
- Boutcher SH. High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise and Fat Loss. International Journal of Obesity. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2991639/. Published November 24, 2010.
- Das T, Roy S. Effect of yoga on weight reduction. International Journal of Current Research. http://www.journalcra.com/article/effect-yoga-weight-reduction. Published 2010.
- Bray GA, Popkin BM. Dietary Sugar and Body Weight: Have We Reached a Crisis in the Epidemic of Obesity and Diabetes? Diabetes Care. http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/37/4/950. Published April 1, 2014.
- PestaDH, Samuel VT. A high-protein diet for reducing body fat: mechanisms and possible caveats. Nutrition & Metabolism. https://nutritionandmetabolism.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1743-7075-11-53. Published November 19, 2014.
- Ebbeling CB, Feldman HA, Klein GL, et al. Effects of a low carbohydrate diet on energy expenditure during weight loss maintenance: a randomized trial. The BMJ. https://www.bmj.com/content/363/bmj.k4583. Published November 14, 2018.
- Anderson JW, Baird P, Davis RH. Health benefits of dietary fiber. Nutrition Reviews. https://academic.oup.com/nutritionreviews/article-abstract/67/4/188/1901012. Published April 1, 2009.
- Caffrey JM, An R. Plain water consumption in relation to energy intake and diet quality among US adults, 2005–2012. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jhn.12368. Published February 22, 2016.
- Kim JH, Na HB, Kim MJ. Effects of the lemon detox program on body fat reduction and detoxification in Korean overweight women (LB354). Nutrition. https://www.fasebj.org/doi/abs/10.1096/fasebj.28.1_supplement.lb354. Published April 1, 2014.
- Mansour MS, Ni Y- M, Roberts AL. Ginger consumption enhances the thermic effect of food and promotes feelings of satiety without affecting metabolic and hormonal parameters in overweight men: A pilot study. Metabolism. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3408800/. Published April 24, 2012.
- Duffey KJ, Sutherland LA. Adult Cranberry Beverage Consumers Have Healthier Macronutrient Intakes and Measures of Body Composition Compared to Non-Consumers: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2005–2008. MDPI. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/5/12/4938/htm. Published December 4, 2013.
- Hursel R, Viechtbauer W, Westerterp-Plantenga MS. The effects of green tea on weight loss and weight maintenance: a meta-analysis. International Journal of Obesity. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19597519. Published September 2009.
- Zheng J, Zheng S, Feng Q. Dietary capsaicin and its anti-obesity potency: from mechanism to clinical implications. Bioscience Reports. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5426284/. Published May 11, 2017.
Summary of How to Lose Belly Fat
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