Belly fat consists of both subcutaneous fat -- fat that sits just under your skin -- and visceral fat -- fat that's deeper in your body and surrounds your organs. Excess fat can cause serious health problems such as high blood pressure, decreased ability to use insulin and risk of stroke, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Removing your belly fat will improve your health, but it's important to do it safely. Also, speak with your doctor before drastically changing your diet.
Reduced Caloric Intake
Changing your diet and getting plenty of exercise are the best ways to remove any fat, including belly fat. In order to decrease fat on your body, you need to burn more calories than you're consuming. However, if you are unable to exercise, you can still lose belly fat. You can reduce the number of calories you take in by eating less and making more healthful food choices.
A healthful, lower-calorie diet can be packed with flavor and variety. Stock up in the produce department. Eat a rainbow of different-colored fruits and vegetables and pair them with whole-grain breads and pastas. The fiber in fruits and whole grains makes you feel full longer, which may help you eat less. Stay away from high-calorie and high-fat foods such as pizza and fast food, but don't eliminate all fat from your diet. Some fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, are beneficial to your health. Add foods such as fish, olive oil, walnuts and avocados to your diet to include these healthy fats. A study in the December 2012 "Journal of the American College of Nutrition" reports that eating 2 ounces of walnuts -- roughly 30 halves -- each day does not contribute to weight gain and reduces your risk of heart disease, especially if you have abdominal fat.
Track Your Calorie Spending
Talk to your doctor to help determine how many calories per day you're burning, on average. If you're limited in your ability to exercise, the goal is to keep the number of calories you consume below the number you burn without exercising. Write down the foods you eat every day, along with the number of calories each contains. Don't forget drinks, which can be loaded with calories. Add up the calories at the end of the day. As long as your caloric intake is less than you burn, you should start losing belly fat.
Diet pills are on the shelves of nearly every drugstore, and the world is full of advertisements touting the newest weight-loss methods. Be very wary of these tempting belly fat-removal methods. Most of these pills and weight-loss methods haven't been tested and proven safe by the Federal Drug Administration. Some of them pose dangerous risks to your health. Even products marked "natural" can be harmful.
If you have a lot of belly fat or you can't seem to take it off no matter what you try, speak with your doctor. If the extra fat you're carrying causes significant health problems, your doctor may prescribe diet pills or recommend weight-loss surgery. It's important to follow your doctor's instructions exactly if you choose one of these options.
- MedlinePlus: Weight Control
- HelpGuide.org: Healthy Weight Loss
- Nutrition.gov: Interested in Losing Weight?
- ObesityAction.org: Magic Pills: The Marketing of Dietary Supplements for Weight-loss
- Harvard Medical School: Abdominal Fat and What to do About It
- Drugs.com: Prescription Weight Loss Drugs -- What Are The Options?
- Calories Per Hour: How Fiber Helps You Lose Weight
- Huffington Post: How to Lose Weight Without Exercise
- Journal of the American College of Nutrition: Effects of Walnuts on Endothelial Function in Overweight Adults with Visceral Obesity: A Randomized, Controlled, Crossover Trial