Losing body fat is a difficult task, and the stubborn fat stored around the midsection is particularly hard to burn off. Many dieters become frustrated by the lack of progress they experience even while they eat right and exercise regularly. Spot reduction techniques such as exercises that work the abdominal muscles do not target abdominal fat specifically, so doing hundreds of crunches is not going to help. However, there are several diet, exercise and modifications you can make that will help you get rid of belly fat.
Increase Your Protein Intake
Cutting calories is necessary for weight loss, but protein intake should remain high for optimal results. Clinical studies show that fat oxidation and appetite suppression are considerably higher for subjects consuming a high protein diet. The best sources of protein include:
- Skinless Chicken Breast
- Whey Protein Powder
Protein from plant sources such as legumes and nuts are also beneficial, as are low fat dairy sources such as Greek yogurt and cottage cheese. Women should consume a minimum of 80-100 grams of protein per day, while men do best consuming between 120 and 180 grams per day. For best results, divide the total amount equally among your daily meals.
Make Sure You Are Getting Enough Fiber
Fiber aids in digestion, maintains regularity, helps keep your blood sugar stable and reduces hunger and cravings. The best sources of fiber are fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts such as apples, leafy greens, black beans and almonds. Including these foods in your diet will slow the rate of gastric emptying, improve nutrient absorption and reduce lipid levels in the blood. This not only prevents fat storage, it also helps mobilize stored fat so it can be burned as energy. Eat about 15 grams of dietary fiber for every 1,000 calories you consume for best results.
Exercise Smarter, Not Longer
Long sessions on the elliptical or treadmill may burn a lot of calories, but they are not optimal for maximum fat loss. Short, moderately intense exercise sessions with alternating periods of higher intensity have been shown to produce superior results. Instead of walking for 60 minutes, try a 30-minute session in which you walk normally for one minute and walk at a much faster pace for the next. Your heart rate will remain elevated during the slower minute, and you will actually burn more body fat in 30 minutes than you could by walking steadily for an hour. This is a much more efficient approach, and one that consistently results in more belly fat being burned off.
It takes a consistent, long-term effort to slowly whittle away those last few pounds of fat around the midsection. The on again/off again approach many dieters take will not usually cut it. Progress may be slow, but if you keep up with your routine without falling off the wagon, your stomach will eventually flatten out. Commit to dieting hard for 12-16 weeks without missing any workouts or indulging in any cheat meals. If you can pull this off, you will almost certainly have a nice new set of abs to show off when it is all said and done.