Guest post written by Sophia Smith
Dealing with excess fat in your body is not merely an issue of aesthetics – too much belly fat increases your risk of numerous chronic health issues, from heart disease to diabetes. That said, even seemingly skinny people who don’t have well-developed muscles and lead sedentary lives are at the same risk of developing too much belly fat. With that in mind, belly fat is the bane of us all, and instead of temporary treatments with a yo-yo effect, you should strive to adapt your lifestyle.
Now, since we’re tackling this topic smack-dab in the middle of the holiday season, we know you mean business. Let’s create a strategy to battle belly fat once and for all and help you foster a life of healthy choices, from nutrition to workouts!
Choose whole foods in your diet
Choosing whole foods to defeat belly fat is also a great way to simplify your diet completely and to ensure that you stick to minimally processed foods, meals with no added sugar and other chemicals, and nutrient-dense ingredients.
From whole grains, to fruit and veggies and lean protein sources, you can build your diet on whole foods and kiss that belly fat goodbye for good. That also means kicking sugary beverages and processed, packaged foods and meals.
Introduce powerful exercises
Alas, spot reduction, or targeting specific muscles to shed fat in that area of your body hasn’t been proved to be successful. While abdominal exercises can be useful, to burn fat more effectively, you should choose compound movements such as burpees, mountain climbers, HIIT training combinations, and strength training to improve your body’s ability to burn fat.
Whether you choose to work with a training partner to elevate accountability and motivation, or you train by yourself, exercise selection is important. Add the Russian twists to your plan to strengthen and engage your core, as well as full-body movements such as the squat, and a range of cardio-based movements. A mix of all will help your body elevate your metabolism and burn more fat over time.
Focus on protein intake
The building blocks of life are also the building blocks of muscle and your fat-burning potential. Protein is a key fat-loss macronutrient that most people fail to consume in satisfactory quantities every day. It’s necessary for your body to build lean muscle once you start working out, and it’s going to prevent you from feeling hungry soon after your meals.
People looking to shed belly fat will often boost their intake by adding isolate protein to their post-workout shakes. This is a tasty way to elevate your daily protein intake, keep your belly full for much longer, and ensure that you can build muscle while burning the belly fat away. Since fat loss requires you to reduce your caloric intake, this form of protein is diet-friendly, helping you stay on track with your diet.
Elevate your consumption of soluble fiber
As you’ve noticed by now, what you do in the kitchen has a crucial impact on your belly fat reduction, much more so than your training. That’s why the adage that abs are made in the kitchen stands up to scrutiny, and that is why you need to refine your diet by introducing more soluble fiber.
It can be found in oatmeal, flaxseed, beans, broccoli, avocados, sweet potatoes, carrot, apples, and other fruits, veggies, legumes, nuts and seeds. This ties in very nicely with your initial plan to focus on wholefoods, so make sure to add these on the list, and your digestive tract will appreciate the effort. Like protein, soluble fiber keeps you full for longer, it’s digested slowly, and it keeps your energy at a steady level.
Sleep and destress as much as possible
It turns out that your down time has an equally powerful impact on your body’s preference to store or burn fat. Research has shown that people who sleep less than five hours tend to gain more fat than those who get a decent amount of sleep every night. Sleeping poorly will leave you too tired to work out to your full potential, you’ll skip training, and you’ll crave sweets more often – making it extremely difficult to shed that belly fat.
Add to that, stress is a significant factor in how your body processes nutrients and it affects your hormonal balance, boosting the production of cortisol, the stress hormone. All of that combined can wreak havoc on your fat loss goals. So, the solution is to ensure enough sleep every night, and create a relaxing ritual to reduce stress levels, be it meditation, bubble baths, reading, yoga, or a combination of all.
Getting rid of belly fat and building a lean physique is somewhat of a lifelong marathon, and not a month-long sprint. Your goal should be to build these healthy eating habits, train regularly, sleep well, keep stress at a minimum, and your physique will reflect your lifestyle. Once you bring down your belly fat to an acceptable, healthy level, it will come down to maintenance and consistency – and that will be your greatest test of all. Make sure to stay true to these choices well after you lose your belly fat, and you’ll stay lean and resilient in the years to come.