Sayings like muffin top or beer gut all associate food with belly fat. There’s more to belly fat than just poor eating, but don’t lose hope. Getting rid of the spare tire around your waist can be done without starving yourself and without performing 2,000 crunches per day. Take healthy steps and incorporate these routines into your lifestyle to get rid of the gut.
Cut Out Calories
While not the only reason for extra belly fat, the foods you eat can be a major contributor. Weight change equals calories in minus calories out, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Knowing how much you burn on a daily basis will help you determine how many calories per day you need to cut out to see a change in weight. You can calculate your calories with online calculators such as the one on MayoClinic.com. Once you have done this, incorporate a healthy diet consisting of whole grains, healthy fats and oils, vegetables and fruits, fish, poultry and eggs and healthy servings of dairy. Foods to eat sparingly are red meats, processed meats, butter, refined grains, sugary drinks, sweets, salt and processed foods.
Eat More Often
It’s essential to start your day off right. Eating breakfast every day gives your brain and metabolism a much needed jump start and fuels your body for the busy day ahead of you, according to the Cleveland Clinic. To shed extra weight, eat four to six mini-meals every day. However, just because you should eat four to six meals a day doesn’t mean you get to eat whatever you want. Plan your day ahead of time and moderate your portions for each meal. Small frequent snacks and meals should prevent you from binge eating and keep your metabolism revved up. By eating healthy foods and eating often to reduce cravings, you’ll lose fat not only around your stomach, but on your whole body as well.
Exercise is essential with helping you burn calories and reduce belly fat. Cardio exercise is important for your overall health as well. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that healthy adults get in at least two and a half hours of moderate-intensity cardio exercise per week. This includes brisk walking, jogging and swimming. The CDC also suggests including two days per week of strength training. Strength-training sessions should consist of exercises for the legs, abs, back, arms, chest and shoulders. Choose two exercises for each muscle group and perform eight to 12 reps per exercise. As you increase in strength, perform additional sets of each exercise. Work your way up to two to three sets of eight to 12 reps per strength-training exercise.
Focus on the Core
Your core muscles are the muscles that wrap around your midsection. They include your abdominal muscles, oblique muscles and your back muscles. Toning and strengthening these muscles will help you achieve a leaner, less flabby midsection. Include core exercises such as the side plank, plank, abdominal crunches, bridge exercises, abdominal presses and superman exercises. Choose a handful of core-strengthening exercises and perform at least two sets of each exercise with 12 to 15 reps per set.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity do Adults Need?
- Cleveland Clinic: The Lowdown on Losing Weight
- Harvard School of Public Health: Food Pyramids and Plates: What Should You Really Eat?
- MayoClinic.com: Calorie Calculator
- MayoClinic.com: Slide Show: Exercises to Improve Your Core Strength
Danielle Clark has been a writer since 2009, specializing in environmental and health and fitness topics. She has contributed to magazines and several online publications. Clark holds a Bachelor of Science in ecology and environmental science.