Remember the time you looked in the mirror while brushing your teeth and realized that your belly was jiggling unusually?
That was probably the first time you noticed that your belly was starting to bulge a little, or a lot. That was, and usually is, also the time when you decided that you need to hit the gym again.
A large tummy, sometimes called a beer belly, is one form of obesity. It is a result of increased fat disposition in the belly area. This is more common in men than in women.
Women tend to have more fat in the hip and thigh areas. However, that doesn’t mean that women cannot get beer bellies.
Losing the fat on the tummy is not just important for you to look good, but it is also important for you to be healthy.
Obesity in general makes a person more susceptible to several diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. But localized obesity, such as beer bellies, makes a person even more susceptible to certain diseases.
If you want to lose that extra fat on your tummy, you need to clear up some common misconceptions. First and foremost, there is no “magical pill” or “incredible device” that will allow you to burn the fat faster. It is a long process that requires commitment in order to achieve results.
The second thing to know is that no amount of sit-ups is going to make you lose the fat. You can be doing hundreds of sit-ups every day, but the end result will be rock-hard abs muscles hidden under layers and layers of fat. That isn’t what we want to achieve. That isn’t to say that exercise is not important, but alone, it isn’t enough.
The only way to lose fat is to burn more energy than you are eating. That is the only time the body will tap into the energy stored in fat cells.
In order to achieve this, you will need to change several bad habits and make improvements to your lifestyle. If you can keep it up, you will be surprised at the positive results that a few small changes can achieve.
To make this task easier for you, here are several tips that you can follow to achieve the desired results.
Watch What You Eat
Evade foods rich in fats. You should also decrease your total caloric intake because, as we mentioned before, if you do not burn more than you eat, then you will never lose any fatty cells.
Try to divide your meals into five to six smaller meals instead of just three big ones. When the body does not receive food for prolonged periods, it enters into starvation mode.
During this period, all body functions drastically decrease caloric burning. The regular food intake will increase metabolism since the body will never enter into starvation mode. This will help burn more fat throughout the day.
Try to eat breakfast early, as soon as you wake up. This is to compensate for the long period of starvation while you are sleeping at night.
Eat larger meals in the morning and smaller meals toward bedtime. This is important because the food eaten in the morning will be used throughout the day to generate energy.
However, if you eat heavy meals in the evening then most of it will be stored as fat while you are sleeping since it is not used up.
Cut down on junk food. Switch to nutritious, healthy foods. Junk food is one of the leading causes of obesity around the world. Also, try to cut down on refined sugars and processed food.
You also need to develop the most important habit; stop eating when you are full. Don’t overeat and stuff yourself. It is unhealthy, increases the fats in your body, and gives you stomachaches!
Watch What You Drink
Quit drinking beer. If you drink alcohol, now would be a great time to quit. There is, after all, a reason belly fat is called a “beer belly.” There is no clear understanding of how beer can increase fat around the tummy.
However, most doctors agree there is a strong relationship between drinking beer and increased belly fat. This could be due to the fact that beer is very high on caloric value.
Do not drink soft drinks either. They have a caloric value of around 150 per can. Count how many you drink every week, do the math, and you will realize they add up to thousands of calories.
Diet soft drinks, while low on calories, have other health problems. It is best to evade them altogether. Go for fresh juices instead. They taste great and are a much healthier option. They act as a fun and filling snack between meals.
Try to drink a lot of water throughout the day, especially when you wake up and before you sleep. Water is king. That is the golden rule. Water helps streamline the fat burning process as well as detoxify the body.
If your body is low on water at anytime during the day, the body reduces energy burning. This translates into lower fat loss. If you are exercising, make sure you are well hydrated because you will lose a lot of water to sweat.
Try green tea. Green tea is also a great substitute for coffee or black tea. It is rich in substances called catechins.
A study published in 2005 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicates that catechins may trigger weight loss by stimulating the body to burn calories and decreasing body fat. Green tea also has antioxidant, antiviral, and anticancer properties.
Implement Activity Into Your Life
Try to take the stairs rather than the elevator or escalator. Think of it as an exercise that needs neither special equipment nor dedicated time.
Get in the habit of a brisk walk every day, may be by parking your car a few blocks away from work in the morning. If you usually take public transportation, get off a station or two away from your target and walk the remaining distance.
Besides being refreshing, it will burn some energy. Coupled with lower calories intake, this will lead the body to burn fat cells.
Exercise the Right Way
As mentioned before, sit-ups and crouches are the biggest belly fat loss myth. To lose fat, you have to work up a sweat.
Cardiovascular exercises, also called aerobic exercises, are the best way to do that. These include a vast array of workouts such as running, power walking, swimming, cycling, and rope jumping.
There are also trendy new options such as aerobic dancing, which can be fun and exciting besides helping you lose weight.
Most experts recommend aerobic exercising for 20 to 50 minutes three to five times a week. Besides raising your metabolism, and thus burning more calories to release energy, cardio exercises have great health benefits such as reducing cardiovascular diseases, which is the leading cause of death around the world.
Anaerobic exercises, such as weight-lifting, can have a beneficial effect by raising your basal metabolic rate (BMR).
Simply put, this refers to the amount of energy your body burns when not exercising to maintain its functions. Anaerobic exercises increase your muscle mass, which require more energy uptake.
Raising your BMR means that your body will constantly be burning more calories, leading to reduce fat deposits all over.
Activate your core. This term refers to one of the most effective yet simple ways of having a flat tummy. All you have to do is draw your bellybutton into your spine and hold it there while breathing naturally.
See how long you can hold, and try to better your time every day. The best thing about this is that you can do it while sitting at your computer, standing, or walking. Try to set alarms on your computer or phone several times throughout the day to remind you to “activate your core.”
While this may all sound too overwhelming, it is not impossible to be able to achieve these changes in your lifestyle if you have the right mindset. By time, you will be able to naturally know what foods are not good for you. Even better, you will not be craving them anymore.
Incorporating exercise into our busy lifestyles can be tricky. But if you try to make exercise a fun family activity, or a friends get-together activity, then it will be much easier to maintain on the long run.
And the secret lies in the idea of the long run. You have to take the decision that losing belly fat is going to take time. There is no easy way or shortcut.
However, the gradual change in your life will ensure that you are able to keep your new lifestyle. And this will eventually improve the quality of life for you.
And in less than 10 weeks, you are bound to see signs of your stomach fat receding. And you will be wearing those clothes that you stuffed in the back of the closet in no time!
This article was first published in 2007 and is currently republished for its informative content.
– “Ask an Expert: Losing That Beer Belly. ” Providence: Health & Services. Jan. 2008. Accessed 29 June 2008.
– Beechum, Kamp. “How to Get Rid of Stomach or Belly Fat.” Disabled World. 25 June 2007. Accessed 29 June 2008.
– Chabballa, Steve. “Lose Belly Fat with a 10 Minute Workout.” Disabled World. 24 Dec. 2007. Accessed 29 June 2008.
– Dulloo, Abdul G., et al. Efficacy of a Green Tea Extract Rich in Catechin Polyphenols and Caffeine in Increasing 24-h Energy Expenditure and Fat Oxidation in Humans. Am. J. Clinical Nutrition, Dec. 1999; 70: 1040 – 1045.
– “Losing Belly Fat for Men – Workouts and Diet.” Disabled World. 27 Jan. 2008. Accessed 29 June 2008.
– Webber, Peter. “Get Rid of a Beer Gut.” Disabled World. 24 July 2007. Accessed 29 June 2008.
– “What Are the 7 Most Common Lose the Beer Belly Mistakes Keeping You From Getting the Lean Sexy Body You Deserve? ” Lose-the-Beer-Belly.com. Accessed 29 June 2008.