Gaining excess belly fat can be blamed on many things; overeating, baby weight gain and getting older are just a few. A waist measurement of 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men, regardless of your weight, is an unhealthy sign of visceral fat, according to The National Institutes of Health. To reduce belly fat naturally you will need to cut down on your calories, eat a diet rich in monounsaturated fats and exercise. With a little patience and effort, it is possible to see those abdominal muscles again.
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Evaluate your current diet. Eating a diet high in processed, fast and sugary foods may be causing weight gain in your abdominal region. For three days, prior to beginning a belly fat-burning program, write down everything you eat in a food journal. Write down all foods and drinks you consume, even if it is just a bite or a piece of something. At the end of the three days, see where your weak spots are and figure out a replacement for them. If you notice that you consistently eat sugary snacks in the afternoon, replace them with a healthy alternative like fresh fruit or yogurt with fruit. Identifying your food weaknesses will allow you to prepare for them ahead of time and help you stick to a healthy eating plan.
Eat clean foods daily. Tosca Reno, author of "The Eat Clean Diet," suggests eating whole, clean foods for maximum fat-burning potential. Eating clean consists of eating fresh lean proteins, complex-carbohydrates and essential fats. Bodybuilders have used this diet to burn fat for many years. Choose proteins such as chicken, turkey, lean beef, tofu, fish, beans and legumes. Whole grains, brown rice and fresh fruits and vegetables are all excellent complex-carbohydrates.
Add some belly-burning fats to your daily diet. Eating a monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA), with every meal has been proven to reduce belly fat, according to Liz Vaccareillo, author of "Flat Belly Diet." Foods that are rich in MUFAs are olives, oils, avocados, dark chocolate and nuts and seeds. Eat a variety of these good fats throughout the day in moderation.
Burn fat with aerobic exercise. Doing a minimum of 30 minutes of aerobic activity four to five times a week will increase your body's natural fat-burning abilities. The body burns energy from fat stores when in an aerobic state; to achieve this state, you must be in movement within your training heart rate for a minimum of 30 minutes. Choose cardiovascular exercises that motivate you and that are easy to incorporate into your weekly routine.
Burn more fat calories with muscle. Scientists estimate that with each additional pound of muscle you will burn an extra seven kilocalories per day. Weight training two to three times a week will help increase your lean muscle fiber and your metabolism. Extra muscle also helps you work out longer and harder, producing a training effect that adds to the extra calories burned, according to Len Kravitz, PhD.