Want to know how to lose belly fat? Fortunately, you can achieve this with a few simple changes in your diet and lifestyle.
You don’t have to be overweight in order to have a pot belly—even skinny people can have belly fat. While it may look pesky and unattractive, studies show that there are more reasons to hate it aside from making you look less attractive. If you want to know how to lose belly fat, let’s first look at the mechanism of fat production and storage.
Fat and Pot Belly
Fat is an evolutionary survival mechanism. It helps creatures store energy so that when food becomes less available, they can easily draw from the reserves to continue living until the conditions become ideal for food hunting again.
The human body stores energy through two types of fact: one that is found underneath the skin or the subcutaneous fat and another that is found inside and around the organs or the visceral fat.
The subcutaneous is relatively safe and we all have it. It is sometimes referred to as the skinny fat because even thin people have it. Visceral fat, however, is what causes pot belly.
This type of fat wraps around the internal organs reducing the available space around them. Imagine an apartment crammed with people. That’s what happens inside the belly. The fat accumulation competes with the internal organs for space.
The reduced space affects the functions of the organs and makes expelling toxins in and around them difficult. Accumulation of toxins is more likely with people having lots of visceral fat.
Another danger of visceral fat is it functions more like an organ. Studies suggest that visceral fat produces hormones (e.g. hunger hormone ghrelin) that mimics other hormones and interferes with the normal metabolism of the body.
Ghrelin, for instance, a hunger hormone, makes people crave more for food. That’s why people with pot belly tend to get hungry often and seems to get satisfied with food less thus they tend to eat longer in increased amounts.
Understanding these mechanisms is crucial if you want to know how to lose belly fat.
How to Lose Belly Fat with 4 Lifestyle Changes
Before you attempt to lose the flab, you have to realize one important thing first—losing fat is not easy and your desired results might not come early on. Losing belly fat also means you have to lose weight altogether.
Weight loss is not achieved by merely changing your diet for a while or engaging in an exercise routine for a time until you achieve your ideal weight.
Weight loss also means maintaining the ideal weight after you achieved it. Thus what you should do is more of a change in lifestyle than a momentary change in activities only to revert back to the usual after the goal is achieved.
To assist you with the change in lifestyle, with the goal of losing weight and belly fat, here are some healthy ways and adjustments that you can do to gradually achieve your goal.
#1 Limit Carbohydrates
This means you have to limit or avoid sugar and sugar-sweetened beverages, as well. Sugar is a form of carbohydrates—and is one of the most addictive. If you want to lose weight and belly flab, you should lose the sweet tooth, as well.
Carb restriction can be done not just in quantity but also in quality. Carbohydrate is a vital nutrient for a healthy body but not all carbs are created equally. Avoid processed and simple carbohydrates like products made of starch and sugar. Instead, opt for complex carbohydrates.
Complex carbs are from natural unprocessed sources such as sweet potato and corn. They contain lots of fiber and other nutrients than just carbs. Fiber slows down the absorption of carbohydrates (or sugar) thus you have a consistent amount of sugar in your blood and you feel full and energized longer.
Furthermore, elevated levels of blood sugar cause the body to produce insulin to help metabolize sugar.
The problem with insulin is, it prevents fat metabolism and promotes fat storage—that is, an excess sugar that is not used up by the body gets stored easily as fat when insulin is present in elevated amounts in the blood.
#2 Eat more protein
Losing weight and fat does not equate to depriving yourself of food. In fact, that is counter-productive. Protein is digested by the body much more slowly than sugar. It also takes some energy to metabolize protein into energy. In addition, protein promotes satiety. You feel full for longer and you experience hunger pangs less.
It also nullifies the effect of limiting carbohydrates. When you don’t have enough sugar in the blood, your body will slowly metabolize your muscles to get protein. This slows down metabolism. By consuming sufficient amounts of protein a day, you avoid this effect and keep your metabolism fast.
#3 Exercise regularly
There’s no avoiding it—if you want a healthy body, you must perform activities your body is designed for. It took millions of years for our bodies now to evolve into what it is today. It will take millions of years to evolve in the kind of lifestyle we are living now. The human body has not yet evolved to a sedentary life. Move.
Make some plans and adjustments in your lifestyle to accommodate regular exercise—preferably, cardio exercise. Cardio exercises increase the heart rate, makes blood sugar available for muscles thus sugar is metabolized without the need for insulin, and visceral fat is metabolized, as well.
#4 Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night
Sleep deprivation is one of the leading causes of metabolic diseases. By not getting enough sleep, the body is thrown into disarray. Sleep deprivation particularly messes up with how the body stores and uses up energy.
You want to get the most out of your weight loss efforts. Thus, you do not want to mess up with your metabolism. Avoid sources of blue light an hour or two before your bedtimes such as cellular phones and TV.
Also, do not stay up late. An hour before your bedtime, stop whatever you are doing. Getting enough sleep and doing the first three tips mentioned in this article will give you the flat belly you so desire.
Belly fat is not just unattractive but poses a risk to health, as well. Potbelly is an indication of the existence of visceral fat, the most dangerous form of fat associated with cardiovascular and metabolic diseases (most of which are fatal).
The good news is visceral fat is the first that gets used up by the body for energy during weight loss. Thus, any weight loss program could help reduce the flab. However, in order to benefit from the health advantages of losing flab, you need to do some adjustments in your lifestyle. This is the most effective and healthy strategy on how to lose belly fat.
In this article, we have listed four basic but important tips on how to lose belly fat naturally and without ill effects on health. It may take a long while to get results but since the results are from fixes on one’s lifestyle, it will expectedly be permanent.