Get More Fiber
Leafy greens, whole grains, nuts, and beans are all good for keeping away the fat that stays deep in your belly. That’s called visceral fat, and it’s the most dangerous kind because it can wrap around major organs, including your liver, pancreas, and kidneys.
Be Choosy About Fat
You can still have some! But limit the “saturated” kind that’s in animal foods, coconut and palm oils, and full-fat dairy. Keep the portions of those foods smaller than you might normally do, for instance. And check nutrition labels to see how many calories and how much fat is in a serving. Look for fats that are better for you, too, like those from plant foods or fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel that are rich in omega-3s.
Stop Trying to Outrun It
Still trying to “burn off” that belly fat by pounding the pavement for hour upon hour? Research shows that a few quick bursts of high-intensity exercise — such as a 30-second sprint or intense pullup set — may be more effective, and easier to fit into your schedule. You can add bursts of higher intensity to any workout.
Sleep: the Goldilocks Formula
When it comes to weight gain, shut-eye is a bit like porridge: Too little — less than 5 hours — may mean more belly fat. But too much — more than 8 hours — can do that, too. “Just right” seems to be around 6-8 hours.
Forget a ‘Quick Fix’
Sorry, but cosmetic surgery isn’t the solution here. Liposuction doesn’t reach inside the abdominal wall. So it can’t get rid of visceral belly fat. Likewise, crash diets aren’t the solution, either. You’re too likely to go off them. The slower, steadier option — lifestyle changes that you can commit to for a long time — really is the best bet.
Are you stressed out? That can make you eat more fat and sugar, and unleash the “stress hormone” cortisol which can boost belly fat. Stress also can make you sleep less and exercise less — which can add belly fat, too. It’s a great reason to take up meditation, work out, listen to music you love, or find other healthy ways to unwind and relax.
Rethink Your Drink
Whether it’s a latte, a regular soda, a glass of juice, it’s got calories. And when you’re trying to unwind the numbers on the scale, water (or a smaller glass of your favorite beverage) might be a better choice.
As if you need another reason to quit. Smoking makes you more likely to store fat in your belly, rather than your hips and thighs. And that’s bad. Oh, and it’s also a cause of diabetes. And cancer. And heart disease. And lung disease. And … you get the idea. If you’ve tried before, try again.
Don’t Rely on Clothing Sizes
One company’s size 14 could be another’s size 12. A better method is to measure your waist. If you’re a woman, you want that number to be 35 inches or less. Men get up to 40 inches. You may lower your chance of having a heart attack , a stroke, or possibly certain types of cancer. A tape measure can’t check on visceral fat. But along with the scale, it can help you track your weight loss.
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Sadia Salman is a certified nutritionist from Tufts University, USA and the CEO of Diet by Design. She has over 9 years of experience in treating patients with various health issues through food both in Pakistan and in Canada. Most of her work is on managing diseases like hypertension, cholesterol, diabetes etc through weight management. She believes in building a healthy community by educating the masses in any capacity that she can. Her health blogs are a part of her awareness campaign.