Belly fat is linked to serious medical conditions, such as heart disease and stroke, and reducing it can improve your health, as long as you do it in a safe and gradual manner. Fast weight loss often requires drastic measures and is short-lived. According to Helpguide.org, it can leave you feeling sick and drained, and the weight you lose is most likely muscle tissue and water weight, the latter of which is quickly gained back. To lose weight safely, do not attempt to lose more than 2 pounds per week. Healthy food choices and the right exercise routine can help you accomplish this.
Expend 1,000 calories every day through diet and exercise. Since 1 pound of fat equals 3,500 calories, you'll lose 2 pounds per week. Understand that this fat will reduce from your entire body, because spot reducing just one area isn't possible; you must reduce your total body fat, and as this happens, the excess fat around your belly will also reduce.
Perform 150 to 300 minutes of moderate cardiovascular activity per week, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Moderate cardio can include anything from walking briskly and jogging to bicycling and swimming laps, as long as you maintain an intensity that still allows you to talk, but not sing.
Include two, 20-minute high-intensity interval training sessions into your cardiovascular exercise routine. High-intensity intervals optimize your caloric burn and, according to the American Council on Exercise, effectively reduce belly fat. An interval session can alternate between a one-minute, vigorous sprint followed by a two-minute recovery jog at an easy-to-maintain pace. You can also alternate intensities during other forms of cardio, such as bicycling or exercising on an elliptical machine.
Make full-body circuit training part of your workout routine on two to three non-consecutive days of the week. According to the American Council on Exercise, circuit training optimizes your results, because you burn calories and stimulate muscle growth at the same time. Set up six to 15 resistance-training stations and perform 15 reps of each exercise with minimal rest in between sets. For instance, go from doing crunches to chest presses, followed by biceps curls, squats, bicycle crunches and overhead presses.
Get enough sleep every night to control hunger- and stress-regulating hormones that can sabotage your weight loss and make you gain fat around your middle. The Dr. Oz Show website recommends sleeping for seven and a half to nine hours each night to limit the production of the stress hormone cortisol, which triggers uncontrollable cravings, and to stimulate the production of leptin, a hormone that tells you that you're satiated.
Change your diet so you eat fewer calories. Swap out high-calorie foods for nutritious, low-calorie foods, and limit sugar-laden foods, such as doughnuts, cookies and soda, because these are likely to make you gain belly fat. Get your nutrients mainly from fruits, veggies, lean protein, low-fat or non-fat dairy and whole grains.
- Helpguide.org: Healthy Weight Loss & Dieting Tips
- Truestar Health: Spot Reduction - Myth or Truth?
- American Council on Exercise: High-Intensity Interval Training
- American Council on Exercise: Circuit Training
- The Dr. Oz Show: Reset Your Hormones to Beat Belly Fat
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?