Going through life with a fat belly can not only make you feel self conscious, but it can also raise your risk for medical complications. Stroke, heart disease, prostate and breast cancer, and type 2 diabetes are all conditions that can arise from this adiposity. Melting belly fat takes patience and the right game plan. Include your abs in this approach, but don't expect to lose your stomach fat by doing one exercise.
Add more fiber-rich, complex carbs into your diet to fill yourself up. Include whole grains, beans, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, berries and whole grain products. Avoid white bread, white rice, muffins, cakes, cookies, crackers and all other forms of refined carbs.
Curb your appetite by eating small meals throughout the day. Create meals with quality sources of protein and high-fiber complex carbs. A baked chicken breast with steamed Brussels sprouts and brown rice is a meal example. Eat every two and a half hours.
Drink a glass of water with each one of your meals to help fill your belly without added calories. Replace all the calorie-containing beverages in your diet with water to keep your calories down. This will also keep you hydrated.
Watch what you eat at restaurants. Avoid foods and meals that are cooked in butter, covered with creamy sauces and smothered with melted cheese. Keep the dressing and sour cream to a minimum as well. Order foods from the menu that are baked, broiled or steamed. Look for specific markings that indicate foods are low in fat.
Pick a type of cardiovascular exercise that you like and do it often enough to burn fat throughout your body. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity for weight loss. Start out doing at least 45 minutes of cardio, three days a week. Continue with this amount if you are losing your belly and increase it if you are not. Boost your caloric output by alternating back and forth between high and low intensity. Do your workouts on nonconsecutive days.
Increase your muscle mass to burn more calories at rest. Lift weights three days a week on the alternating days of your cardio and do exercises that target your entire body. Bench presses, clean and presses, deadlifts, triceps dips, curls and step-ups are examples. Shoot for 10 to 12 reps, do three or four sets and take short rest breaks in between to keep your heart rate up.
Perform Pilates exercises at home or in a class two or three days a week to tone and tighten your midsection. Pilates causes you to forcefully contract your core muscles while simultaneously moving your arms and legs. Invest in a DVD for home use if you do not like the class atmosphere.