As snow the snow melts and the weather warms up, we will be removing our heavy layers of clothing in favor of lighter more comfortable clothing. When you remove these layers, you may notice a layer or something else—stubborn lower belly fat.
Lower belly fat, its more formal name being visceral fat, can pose some risks to your health. It may increase your risk of diabetes and sleep apnea and it may also increase your blood pressure.
With some dietary changes, regular exercise, and some lifestyle changes, you can help shed this fat and keep it off.
How to Get Rid of Lower Belly Fat
Step One: Change your Diet
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that eating healthy balanced meals is one of the main ways to achieve a lean and healthy body. By altering your diet in the following ways, you will be able to start your fat loss journey.
Cut Down the Calories: In order to shed the belly fat, you are going to have to reduce how many calories you consume per day. This will not only help you with your problem areas, but also help keep your overall fat levels to a minimum.
Experts say that losing one to two pounds a week is the steadiest, healthiest way to achieving a healthy body. To lose a pound or two per week, try cutting your calorie intake by 500-750 calories per day.
To get organized and figure out how many calories you consume each day, keep a food journal and list how many calories you consume daily. Once you figure out how many calories you are consuming, subtract the 500-750 calories to get your desired calorie count.
Incorporate Fruit, Veggies, and Protein into Your Diet: Eating a balanced meal low in carbohydrates, but high in fruit, veggies, and protein will help you lose fat, especially around the belly. Include three or four ounces of lean protein to each meal.
When choosing which veggies to incorporate into your meal, choose from the non-starchy variety, such as cucumbers, tomatoes, cauliflower, peppers, eggplant, and lettuce. Also be sure to throw in a cup of leafy greens into your daily vegetable outtake.
Experts recommend one to two servings of fruit per day. Carbohydrates will slow your weight loss goals, so try to keep them to a minimum.
Decrease your Grain Intake: Grains are lousy with carbohydrates, so try to limit their intake in your diet. To limit your grain intake, try avoiding pasta, rice, bread, crackers, oats, quinoa, tortillas, chips, etc.
If you find it particularly hard eliminating grains from your diet, try to keep your intake to a cup or less. Another option is to substitute grains with whole grains, which are rich in fiber and nutrients, helping you to establish a more balanced diet.
Eliminate Sugar: Sugar is your worst enemy in terms of belly fat. By eliminating highly processed foods and food high in sugar, you can start the process of shedding the excess weight around the middle.
First order of business: get rid of all processed foods like ice cream, baked goods, and cookies that have lots of added sugar. Foods that contain naturally occurring sugar like yogurt and fruit are okay.
When grocery shopping, always check the labels of foods you are purchasing as foods you least expect can have added sugar lurking beneath the depths. Giving up sugar and sweets are hard, so to help you get through this hurdle, try snacking on healthier sweet options like dried fruit, Greek yogurt, honey, and dark chocolate.
Drink Lots of Water: It does not matter what health concern you are addressing, it is almost always recommended that you drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. Getting enough water not only helps your body stay in tip top shape, but it also helps you lose weight as well.
One reason for this is that water helps you stay full, requiring less food intake and limiting your snacking potential. Try drinking two glasses of water before each meal to help reduce your appetite and make you feel full sooner. Experts recommend drinking 8-13 glasses of water a day.
Step Two: Exercise
When it comes to getting rid of belly fat, your first impulse may be to hit the mat and do stomach crunches. Unfortunately, it is not that simple. In order to shed the belly fat, you need to do aerobic exercises that burn calories and help build muscle tone. These exercises will help burn the most fat tissue.
Cardio Exercise: To get rid of that pesky fat tissue, you have to focus on burning calories. The most efficient way to burn those calories is through cardio exercises like swimming, running, or even a game of basketball. Experts recommend getting in 60 minutes of cardio workout a day or splitting it up to two 30-minute sets a day.
Strength Training: To keep burning those calories try lifting weights. Although it is not as efficient as cardio exercises, adding strength training to your workout routine increases the amount of calories your burn while at rest. Add strength training to your workout routine by lifting weight 2 or 3 days a week, making sure to give yourself a 48-hour rest between each workout. Try completing 1-2 sets of 12-15 repetitions per workout. If you want to get some definition to your ab muscles, you can incorporate some abdominal exercises such as crunches on an exercise ball.
Step Three: Lifestyle Changes
Decrease Stress: High levels of stress can be detrimental to your health in so many ways and it can even get in the way of your fitness goals. When your stress levels peak, a hormone called cortisol increases, which results in the body storing extra fat, especially in the belly.
High levels of stress also trigger other unhealthy behaviors, such as stress eating or eating for emotional comfort as opposed to hunger. In order get the stress under control in your life; try removing stressful people and stressful situations from your life.
Another way to manage stress is to be better at managing your time. This will eliminate the need to rush around from one thing to another and that you are meeting your deadlines with ease. Another way to manage your stress is to try breathing exercises. This will help clear your head and help you face your challenges with less anxiety.
Get Enough Sleep: Just like drinking enough water, getting enough sleep is vital to your health. Without proper amounts of sleep, your body lacks the ability to function and handle the challenges of your day. Not getting enough sleep also throws your appetite and levels of body fat out of whack.
Those that do not get enough sleep tend to have higher levels of weight gain and fat in the lower abdomen. Experts recommend getting at least 7-9 hours of sleep per night. This recommended amount of sleep will keep your body functioning smooth and will ensure that you feel well rested.
Unfortunately, most people do not get nearly enough sleep or are too distracted to get full, restful sleep. To ensure you are getting you are completely at rest, be sure to turn off all of your electronic devices, like your phone or your tablet.