Carrying too much abdominal fat can shake your confidence, but this issue is more than skin deep. The fat that sits around your midsection includes visceral fat, which is connected to a series of serious health complications. Losing this fat can put you on the fast track to better health, but you can't burn just your abdominal fat. The key to losing the fat around your midsection and throughout your entire body is to attain a calorie deficit, which results from steadily burning more calories than you're consuming.
Make immediate changes to your diet to increase your ability to reach a calorie deficit that will burn the fat around your abdomen and elsewhere in your body. Changes to make include starting a food journal, in which you note everything you consume. Recording your meals, snacks and drinks can make you think twice before consuming something unhealthy. Your daily recommended calorie intake depends on your age, sex and how active a lifestyle you lead. An active female between the ages of 19 and 30, for example, should consume around 2,400 calories per day. However, an inactive woman in the same age range should only consume 1,800 to 2,200 calories. Other adjustments you can do to reduce caloric intake to create that needed calorie deficit include consuming smaller meal portions, increasing your consumption of vegetables and skipping foods that have high fat and sugar content.
Boost the duration of your weekly cardiovascular workouts to burn enough calories to lead to fat loss. Whether you're currently semi-active or have a completely sedentary lifestyle, aim for 300 minutes of moderate cardio exercise or 150 minutes of up-tempo cardio per week. One approach is to reserve two days for rest and exercise the other five days of the week. Exercises that can lead to results include walking, jumping rope, swimming, jogging, riding a bicycle and playing team sports such as soccer and basketball. Up-tempo exercises burn calories faster than those that are moderate. For example, a 185-pound person who runs at 6.7 mph for 30 minutes burns 488 calories and burns 222 calories during a 30-minute walk at 4.5 mph. If you're able to burn several hundred calories per day, you increase your chance of reaching a calorie deficit.
Increase your activity, even during the times you're not formally exercising. For example, sign up to coach your child's sports team or work in your yard more frequently. Either activity can burn several hundred calories a day. Limit the amount you watch TV to an hour per day to ensure you have enough time to get exercise. Strive to get around eight hours of sleep per night, as sleeping -- especially sleeping deeply -- contributes to a steady calorie burn.
Lift weights or perform bodyweight exercises at least twice a week to help you in your fat-loss journey. Although strength training's calorie burn is low, building muscle elevates your basal metabolic rate, which can help your body burn calories at an accelerated rate, even when you're no longer exercising. If you don't have time to lift weights at the gym, perform crunches, pushups and squats at home to kick-start your metabolism.
Be vigilant about checking the calorie values of your foods and drinks once you know approximately how many calories you should consume per day. Keep track of your rough calorie intake and aim to consume fewer than your recommended daily amount. A simple calorie-saving step is to remove all beverages from your diet except for water. Water provides ample hydration without adding to your calorie intake.
- American Council on Exercise: So, You Want to Spot Reduce? Here’s How
- Harvard Health Publications: Abdominal Fat and What to Do About It
- American Council on Exercise: Weight Loss: Diet vs. Exercise
- USA Today: Weight-Loss Tips: 25 Ways to Lose Weight, Keep it Off
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: How Much Daily Exercise is Best for Weight Loss?
- Harvard Health Publications: Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights
- Harvard School of Public Health: Healthy Weight
- McKinley Health Center: Breaking Down Your Metabolism
- Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion: Balancing Calories to Manage Weight