Are you struggling to lose belly fat? This question is one of the most popular searches on google and for good reason. Many people struggle with belly fat and can’t seem to get rid of it. But what exactly is belly fat? Belly fat is the layer of fat that sits under your skin around your abdomen and acts as a source of energy for your organs in addition to protection.
Everyone has belly fat but the problem starts when you have too much of the bad fat known as visceral fat. You know the type that gives you a bulging belly and pushes your stomach out. This is a bad type of fat and it’s very simple to determine if you have it or not. Using a tape measure you can measure your waist area around your belly button. Anything above 35-inches for women and 40-inches for men is considered visceral belly fat.
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- 1 Why you need to lose belly fat
- 2 How to lose belly fat in 4-weeks
- 2.1 Week 1: Change your diet
- 2.2 Week 2: Handle stress the right way
- 2.3 Week 3: Exercise to lose belly fat
- 2.4 Week 4: Try intermittent fasting
- 3 Conclusion
Why you need to lose belly fat
The thing with belly fat is not only is it uncomfortable but it actually increases your risk of lifestyle and heart diseases. Besides, visceral belly fat also interferes with hormones that regulate your weight, mood, appetite, and brain function. It’s not just a layer of fat but it’s metabolically active and acts as an organ. Nothing good about that. However, the good news is that it is very easy to lose belly fat once you know you have it. In this article we give you a simple 4-week plan that will help you lose belly fat fast;
How to lose belly fat in 4-weeks
Week 1: Change your diet
If you are struggling with belly fat, then most likely you’re eating too much and moving too little. And that is why changing your diet is the first and most crucial step in order to lose belly fat. Here’s what you need to do;
1. Add protein to your diet
If you find yourself constantly hungry and snacking, it’s probably because you’re not eating enough protein in your meals. You see protein takes longer to break down hence you feel fuller for longer.
The goal is to include high-protein foods in all your meals starting with breakfast. In addition, eating more protein can actually help you lose weight fast as it requires more energy to break down and it will help you eat fewer calories per meal.
2. Add fiber to your diet
Fiber-rich foods will also help you lose belly fat fast. This is because they slow down the movement of food in your stomach hence making you feel fuller for longer. In addition, fiber act as prebiotics for gut bacteria. This is important as gut bacteria control your appetite and having the wrong bacteria can actually make you eat more.
3. Keep track of what you’re eating
Most times we often have an exaggerated view of our diets, we tend to think we eat very healthy yet we forget about all the diet sodas we had in between breaks and the sweet desserts after every meal.’ When you write down what you’re eating you’re able to see clearly what you can cut off and what you need to increase. You can keep a physical food journal or use apps such as myfitness pal to keep track of all your foods
4. Forget about the sugary drinks
Did you know on average women should consume 6 teaspoons of sugar and men should consume no more than 9 teaspoons per day (1)? When you’re trying to lose belly fat. Added sugar is enemy number one. Not only do sugar-filled foods provide no nutritional value, they actually overload the liver and are turned into stored fat. It’s not just sugary foods you have to watch out for, you also need to look out for sugar-filled sweets and desserts such as cakes, donuts, pies, you know all the “good stuff”.
5. Forget about overloading on carbs
Carbs are not bad for us, the problem comes in when you eat too many carbs. You see carbs enter our bloodstreams as glucose. And as a response, our bodies burn carbs exclusively for energy and any blocks release of stored fats to keep blood sugar levels in check. Anything that is leftover is also stored as fats, definitely not what you want when you’re trying to lose belly fat.
In order to reverse this effect, you can limit the number of carbs you eat so that your body has no option other than to burn stored fat for energy. You can opt for low-carb diets such as ketogenic or Atkins if not just limit the number of carbs you’re eating.
Week 2: Handle stress the right way
Do you find yourself craving a nice piece of chocolate cake whenever you’re stressed? You see when you’re stressed you signal the brain that this is a “fight or flight situation”. You may be stressed about your work but your brain responds as if you’re running away from a hungry lion. In order to respond, your body shuts down your digestive system and burns excess calories in order to assist you in this dangerous situation.
Once the situation is passed your body needs to replace the calories it has lost and your reward centers are on high. This is why you end up craving cake in stressful situations and not a healthy fruit bowl. In order to combat this natural response to stress, you need to learn how to deal with stress the right way. You can choose activities such as;
- Take a walk
- Don’t stress about your belly by measuring it every other week
Anything that will disrupt this flight or fight response that you’re signaling to your brain anytime you’re stressed
Week 3: Exercise to lose belly fat
You need to exercise to lose belly fat and am not talking about sit-ups and crunches. The goal when exercising here is to burn fat and some exercises are more effective than others at accomplishing this. In addition, exercise has been shown to be a very effective way to deal with stress. So not only are you burning away the fat, but you’re also dealing with stress which can lead to belly fat. Keep in mind that when you’re exercising to lose belly fat, you should always aim to intensify your workouts weekly.
Your body will want to cling to the fat you’re trying to lose and the best way way to counter this is by continuously scaling your workouts. This doesn’t mean you need to overdo it if you’re constantly doing cardio, how about adding 30-minutes of High-intensity interval training. Best exercises to lose belly fat include;
- Kettlebell swings
- Weight lifting
Week 4: Try intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting is a time-based approach to eating where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. Typically your day is divided between hours of eating and hours where you don’t eat anything except drinking water. It sounds difficult than it really is and I personally used intermittent fasting to lose belly fat and lose over 20 pounds. What makes intermittent fasting so effective is it reduces the amount of food you eat and it helps you develop better eating habits.
I use the 16:8 fasting approach and once I’m done fasting, I never crave a can of soda but rather a healthy meal that will keep me full and satisfied. Fasting is a great way to lose belly fat especially if you find it difficult to track your diet. Read more: How to get started with intermittent fasting
Visceral belly fat is the excess fat around the abdomen that pushes your stomach out from the inside. It’s considered very unhealthy as it increases your risk of certain lifestyle diseases and heart diseases. However, the good news is you can lose belly fat in as fast as 4-week with this easy plan. The first week you learn how to tweak your diet, the second week you learn how to create a healthy way to deal with stress as it contributes to a bulging belly.
In the third week, you learn how to incorporate exercise and lastly, there is intermittent fasting. This is the best way to lose belly fat fast in a healthy way