Are you tired of hiding those extra few pounds of fat beneath loose, flowy tops? Has someone recently asked you when the baby's due? Say goodbye to belly fat and keep the muffin tops in the bakery with a few tips and tricks to help you lose that flabby stomach once and for all. As you burn fat and tone your core, you'll develop a belly you're proud to reveal.
Eat to Lose Weight
Some people make the mistake of cutting way back on calories, skipping meals and bordering on starvation to get rid of extra flab, such as belly fat. But the real way to lose weight is to eat more frequently. Enjoy several small meals throughout the day, starting with breakfast. Eating a steady diet of fresh produce, lean protein, fiber-rich whole grains and low to nonfat dairy as you progress through the day will keep your metabolism boosted and help you lose weight. Cutting your daily calorie intake below 1,200 can actually cause your body to go into starvation mode, which makes it really difficult for you to lose belly fat or any other fat.
Blast Fat and Burn More Calories in Less Time
You don't have to work out for hours a day to get rid of unwanted fat. In fact, you can boost your fat-burning potential and lose the spare tire by doing interval training. Take your favorite form of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, jogging or biking, and add intervals of high-speed movement into it. Alternate between four to five minutes of regular-paced movement and one minute of movement at a faster pace. Doing this also helps you cut down on your exercise time. A regular, one-hour jog can help you burn about 500 calories, but if you incorporate intervals of faster jogging or running, you can burn the same number of calories and shed fat in 45 minutes.
Ditch the Sugary Beverages
It's common sense that soda and sweet coffee beverages that contain 250 to 500 calories will contribute toward weight gain, including belly fat. But did you know even fruit juice can lead to belly fat? Sugary drinks, even those that sound healthy, can be one reason for the muffin top you've started to sport. On the other hand, whole fruit is a smart option because it contains fiber, and fiber helps reduce belly fat. Ditch the sweet drinks for water or herbal tea, and fill up on fiber-rich fresh fruits and vegetables instead of drinking fruit and veggie juice.
Tone Core Muscles
The more muscle mass you have, the more calories your body will burn. Although exercising your core muscles -- the muscles around your belly and lower back -- won't cause you to lose fat, they will tighten and tone your midsection for a slimmer, sexier look. Do front and side planks for 30 to 45 seconds every other day to tone your ab, oblique and back muscles. You can also do double leg raises to tone and tighten your core. Lie on your back with your hands palms down under your tush. Draw your belly button in, and then lift your legs together until your feet are pointing at the ceiling. Lower them with control until they're about 4 inches above the floor. Repeat eight to 10 times every other day.
- Rush University Medical Center: Is There Really "One Trick" to Losing Belly Fat?
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Common-Sense Strategies to Long-Term Weight Loss
- Mayo Clinic: Rev Up Your Workout with Interval Training
- Harvard Medical School: Abdominal Fat and What to Do About It
- Shape Magazine: Abs Workout--The Fastest Way to Lose Belly Fat
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.