Excess weight on your body can be uncomfortable, and it can make you feel unhappy about and embarrassed by your appearance. But carrying extra weight in your upper stomach and belly area can put you at risk for serious health issues. According to Harvard Medical School, the presence of fat in the stomach area has been linked to heart disease, breast cancer and dementia. You can lose upper stomach fat through all-over weight loss while toning your stomach muscles with strength training.
Healthy Eating Habits for Weight Loss
Include calcium-rich low or nonfat dairy products in your diet to help reduce weight gain in the upper stomach area. Eat a well-balanced diet that includes fresh produce, lean protein and whole grains to fill up on nutrient-rich foods that promote good health.
Reduce your daily calorie count by 250 to lose 1/2 pound per week or 500 to lose 1 pound per week. Eliminate creamy dressings, sauces and soups that can add hundreds of calories to your meals. Opt for skim milk and no sugar in your coffee to save an easy 100 or more calories.
Eliminate sugary beverages from your diet, including fruit juices, as the sugar can increase fat in the belly area, according to Rush University Medical Center. Quench your thirst with water or herbal tea and when you want fruit, eat whole, fresh fruit to get the fiber, too.
Start each meal with seasoned steamed vegetables or broth-based vegetable soup to fill up your stomach and help you avoid overeating that can lead to excess fat all over and in the upper stomach.
Exercise to Lose Fat
Always check with your doctor prior to beginning a new exercise plan or diet. Not getting enough sleep can increase your risk of belly fat. Be sure to get a six to eight hours of sleep every night.
Lose fat in your upper stomach and the rest of your body by doing 200 to 300 minutes of aerobic exercise each week. Ride your bike, go for a swim or jog for one hour, five times per week to burn 2,500 calories, which is about 2/3 of a pound.
Incorporate more movement into your everyday activity to burn more calories and lose more fat all over and around your stomach. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, and park at the farthest end of the parking lot instead of in the closest space.
Train your core muscles to strengthen and tone your stomach area for a sleeker appearance as you lose weight, recommends the American Council on Exercise. Perform situps two to three times weekly with your knees bent and hands positioned lightly behind your head. Raise your upper body off the floor until it's at a 45-degree angle, and then slowly lower. Repeat 12 to 24 times.
Tone and tighten the abdominal muscles with leg raises two to three times weekly. Lie on your back with your hands resting under your butt, palms down to protect your lower back. Use your stomach muscles to help you lift your legs simultaneously until your legs are at a 90-degree angle to the floor. Lower your legs with control until they're about 3 inches above the floor. Repeat eight to 12 times.
Do side stretches to tone your oblique muscles-- the muscles that run along the sides of your body. Stand with your feet about 2 feet apart, and raise your right arm up so your fingers are pointing at the ceiling. Bend to your left to feel the stretch along your right side; hold for a count of two before returning to the starting position. Perform 12 to 24 stretches on each side.
- Harvard Medical School: Belly Fat Worse Than Hip and Thigh Fat...
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Losing Weight the Healthy Way
- Rush University Medical Center: Is There Really "One Trick" to Losing Belly Fat?
- Hospital for Special Surgery: Exercise Tips for Weight Loss
- American Council on Exercise: Six Strategies for Losing the Spare Tire
- Shape Magazine: 20 Tricks to Get Tight, Toned Abs Faster
Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.