Belly fat is oftentimes the most stubborn part of weight loss for women, and no number of crunches is going to make it go away. What most don't realize is that belly fat is also one of the most dangerous types, leading to high blood pressure and high cholesterol, both of which are linked to heart disease. Unfortunately, there is no shortcut to eliminating belly fat. Belly fat can best be conquered with the combination of a healthy diet and proper exercise.
Eat More Fruits And Vegetables
The great thing about fruits and vegetables is that they fill you up without filling you out. The fiber in most vegetables and fruits keeps hunger at bay, keeping you satisfied, the calories low and the nutrition content high.
Switch To Whole Grains
White flour products, such as white bread, has been stripped of all its nutrients, making it unsatisfying for your body. Whole grains have not been refined, therefore they contain all of the nutrients of the grain. Look for breads that list whole grains as the main ingredient. Also look for complex carbohydrates like brown rice, quinoa and oats. These whole grains will keep you full for longer and your blood sugar stable.
Focus On Healthy Fats
Many people think fat will cause weight gain, but the truth is that our bodies need fat for optimal health. Healthy fats, such as monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, are essential to heart health, helping to decrease the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Look for these healthy fats in olive oil, avocados, walnuts and fatty fish.
Fill Up On Water
Often times people confuse hunger for thirst. Staying hydrated allows your body to function more efficiently, leading to a better fat burn for your body. Drink water throughout the day and before meals to keep your body hydrated and to make sure your thirst is not being mistaken for hunger.
Avoid Processed Foods
Foods that have no nutritional value, such as french fries, chips, cookies and most packaged foods do nothing but pack on the pounds. Filled with empty calories, processed foods may satisfy you for a moment, but your body will suffer in the long run.
Eat More Often
Eating smaller meals throughout the day is a way to keep hunger away and avoid overeating. The key to eating more often is to watch your portion sizes.
Sitting eight hours at a desk only to go home and spend the rest of the night on the couch is a recipe for extra belly fat. If you have a desk job, get up to take walking breaks every hour or so. Just walking for a few minutes will burn extra calories. Also, always look to take the stairs instead of the elevator and park farther away from the stores. Little movements throughout the day add up to help keep weight off.
Adults should be strength training their major muscle groups at least two days a week. Strengthening your muscles through resistance training helps to not only prevent injury and help with daily life tasks, it also revs up your metabolism and gives better shape and tone to your body.
Intervals are bursts of activity followed by a rest period, such as running for one minute and walking for one minute. Interval training boosts your metabolism for hours after you've finished working out, meaning that your body will continue to burn calories at a higher rate. Add intervals into your cardiovascular workouts for optimal fat burning.
Don't Drink Your Calories
One sure way to lose belly fat is to give up soda and other sugar laden drinks such as juices and coffee drinks. These drinks are empty calories and the sugar content in them is so high that you may as well just be drinking a cup of sugar. A large iced coffee can pack as much as 170 grams of sugar.
- USATODAY.com: Belly Full Of Danger
- Mayoclinic.com: Dietary Fats: Knowing Which Types To Chose
- CDC: How to Use Fruits and Vegetables to Help Manage Your Weight
- CDC: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?
- ACSM: For All-Day Metabolism Boost, Try Interval Training
- CBSMinnesota.com: Nutritionists: Eat Your Calories, Don’t Drink Them
Kaitlin Condon is a holistic health coach and certified physical fitness/wellness specialist. She is a contributing health writer for the teen magazine "Miabella," as well as several online publications.