Drinking enough water each day has some pretty significant effects on weight management and weight loss; however, it cannot shrink your belly on its own. A healthy, reduced-calorie diet, plenty of exercise and a few lifestyle changes, in addition to drinking plenty of water, will help you fight -- and win -- the battle of the belly bulge. Before embarking on a weight loss plan, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss you current health and goals.
Reduce your overall calorie intake. Chances are, if you're gaining belly fat, you're eating too many calories. When you consume more calories than your body can burn, it stores them as fat. Create a calorie deficit of 500 calories each day to burn about 1 pound per week. Discuss your individual calorie needs with your doctor.
Include more fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet, especially non-starchy vegetables with a high water content. Cucumbers, lettuces, tomatoes and broccoli are all examples of non-starchy fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber and water. Their high water and fiber contents help fill you up so you may eat less of higher calorie foods. Eat fresh produce in place of refined carbs, such as pasta, bread and rice, and pair it with a small portion of lean protein like fish, chicken or tofu.
Drink water in place of other higher calorie beverages, including fruit juice, soda, milk, sweet tea and alcoholic beverages. If you eliminate one glass of fruit juice and one can of regular soda from your diet each day and replace them with water, you'll cut more than 1,800 calories from your diet each week. Just that small change alone is enough to lose half a pound each week, which will help trim your belly.
Drink 2 cups of water before breakfast to reduce your calorie intake and trim belly fat. A study published in the "Journal of the American Dietetic Association" in July 2008 found that overweight and obese adults who consumed 16 ounces of water before a breakfast meal ate 13 percent fewer calories at that meal.
Drink a glass of water whenever you feel hungry or have a craving for high-calorie foods. Sometimes, people mistake thirst for hunger, reaching for food when actually what their bodies want is hydration. After you drink the glass of water, ask yourself if you're still hungry. You might find that your craving to snack has disappeared, saving you some calories.
Elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol have been linked to excess abdominal fat. Not getting enough sleep and having high stress levels are two contributors to elevated cortisol levels. Get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night and practice stress-management strategies such as meditation, yoga and journaling. See a therapist or counselor to help you figure out ways to reduce your stress.
Exercise regularly including cardiovascular exercise most days of the week and total-body strength training at least two days per week. Cardiovascular exercise helps burn extra calories, while strength training helps build lean muscle mass, which increases your metabolic rate. Jog, cycle, do aerobics or take a dance class to get your cardio exercise. Lift weights at the gym, do bodyweight exercises such as squats, pushups and crunches at home, or practice a challenging type of yoga to get your strength-training exercise. Be sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise.
- CDC: Can Eating Fruits And Vegetables Help People To Manage Their Weight?
- USDA: Basic Report: 09206, Orange Juice, Raw
- USDA: Basic Report: 14148, Carbonated Beverage, Cola
- CDC: Healthy Weight - It's Not a Diet, It's a Lifestyle!
- Journal of the American Dietetic Association: Water Consumption Reduces Energy Intake at a Breakfast Meal in Obese Older Adults
- PKD Foundation Health Notes: Hungry or Thirsty?
- The Dr. Oz Show: Reset Your Hormones to Beat Belly Fat
- National Sleep Foundation: How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?