Drastically cutting calories to lose belly fat when you're a teenage girl isn't wise. You need optimal nutrients because your body and brain are still growing, and you're building bone. Calories provide you with the energy to be alert and focused during school, too. Exercise and reducing empty-calorie foods, though, can help you lose weight all over, including your belly, while supporting a healthy lifestyle.
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One month isn't really enough time to notice dramatic changes in the size of your belly. But, it gives you enough time to see a 2- to 4-pound drop in your weight and jump-start a long-term slimming solution. Check with your doctor before starting any weight-loss program to determine a healthy goal for you.
Healthy Calorie Intake for Teen Girls
When you lose weight, you can't target the part of the body from which the weight will come off. Weight loss generally occurs all over your body. Belly fat, however, is particularly responsive to traditional weight-loss measures -- improved eating habits and exercise.
The average teen girl burns between 1,800 and 2,400 calories daily, depending on her size and activity level. To lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn. It's preferable for a teenage girl to cut out foods that don't provide a lot of minerals and vitamins, though, rather than to try to trim portion sizes of healthy foods.The calories you eat should consist of fresh fruits and vegetables, along with whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy.
Ditch Sugar and Refined Grains
Foods high in sugar and refined grains are high in calories but not particularly filling, so they can make you overshoot your daily calorie intake and gain belly fat. Cookies, cupcakes, cereal bars, sweetened breakfast cereal, white bread and white pasta are examples of foods that contribute to belly fat.
Soda and other soft drinks, which contain a form of sugar known as fructose, have been shown to increase belly fat considerably when consumed as part of a regular diet, showed a study published in a 2009 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation. Order a 32-ounce soda with your meal at any restaurant and consume 400 extra calories that provide no nutrition or qualities to make you feel full. Even 100-percent juice can cause you to easily exceed your daily calorie needs. Skip high-calorie drinks and choose water and a whole piece of fruit instead. You'll benefit from the filling fiber that slows digestion and helps squelch your appetite.
Move More to Lose Belly Fat
Exercise is critical when your intention is a fast reduction of belly fat. Moving more increases your calorie burn, which can help you lose weight, as long as you don't increase your food intake.
If P.E. isn't your thing, that's OK; you have lots of options for exercise. Take a walk after school with friends or family. Join a dance class or an extra-curricular sports team. Ride your bike, ask your parents to join the local fitness center or turn on some tunes and move to your favorite songs in the privacy of your own room. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends you get at least one hour of activity daily. Boost that recommendation by 30 minutes to get better belly-reducing results.
Reduce Stress to Reduce Belly Fat
Stress from school and social interactions can cause hormonal reactions in your body that cause you to store fat in your belly. A study published in a 2011 issue of Obesity showed that young girls who reported stress related to school events had the highest levels of visceral, or belly, fat compared to less-stressed peers.
Stress interferes with sleep, too little of which can increase your hunger hormones, and can negatively influence your food choices. You may overeat or seek out high-calorie comfort food when you feel overwhelmed or upset. Consider whether you put a lot of pressure on yourself to overachieve in school. Feelings of self-consciousness and peer pressure to be skinny can also contribute to stress.
Managing stress is a life-long struggle, so keep your expectations reasonable, especially if your goal is one month. If you can take measures to reduce your anxieties, you'll be taking steps that support your dietary and exercise strategies to reduce your belly fat over the long-term. Consider letting go of time-consuming extra curricular activities, easing up on your academic expectations or joining a club or organization of like-minded people so you feel supported and appreciated.
- Obesity: Stress and Abdominal Fat: Preliminary Evidence of Moderation by the Cortisol Awakening Response in Hispanic Peripubertal Girls
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010: Balancing Calories to Manage Weight
- Teens Health: How Can I Lose Weight Safely
- Journal of Clinical Investigation: Consuming Fructose-Sweetened, not Glucose-Sweetened, Beverages Increases Visceral Adiposity and lipids and Decreases Insulin Sensitivity in Overweight/Obese Humans.
- CNN: Nutritionists: Soda Making Americans Drink Themselves Fat
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity Do Children Need?
- Rush University Medical Center: Is There 'One Trick' to Losing Belly Fat?