Do you have a little more belly fat than you would like? Are you finding it difficult to shed those extra pounds around your waste line? Well, don’t worry. Stubborn belly fat is one of the most common complaints among men and women. Unfortunately, we live in an age where being overweight or obese has grown to epidemic proportions. This is alarming and very dangerous and you don’t have to be obese to be at risk. Simply having excess amounts of belly fat around your waist is considered dangerous.
So now what? To start, don’t search for a magic bullet. There is a wide array of fat loss pills and potions on the market promising to help you burn fat. The fact is many of them simply don’t work. Not to mention most of them are incredibly expensive! There are healthy and natural ways to lose fat without having to spend a fortune. Fortunately, we have compiled a list of our top ten natural ways to lose stubborn belly fat!
1. Get More Sleep
In our modern society sleep tends to take a back seat to our work and life. In fact, a lot of people brag about how little sleep they get. In their minds, less sleep equals more hustle. This belief is simply not true. In fact, a study showed that sleep deprivation leads to mild cognitive impairment and a loss in productivity. Not only can sleeping less affect your work but it can wreak havoc on your waist line.
Sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain because it increases the hunger hormone and decreases leptin, which is the “I’m full” hormone. Not a great combination. Low leptin levels tell your body that I’m hungry and I need to eat! Additionally, when we don’t get enough sleep our fat cells ability to use insulin properly decreases by 30%. This is called insulin sensitivity. When our fat cells don’t respond to insulin the fat circulates in our blood which can lead to type 2 diabetes.
So, how much sleep do you need? The CDC suggests the average person requires 7-9 hours of sleep. We recommend focusing on quality versus quantity. Don’t watch TV or look at your phone before bed. The blue light can affect your circadian rhythm. Try reading a book or drawing. This will naturally relax you and make it easy to fall asleep.
2. Drink Less Alcohol
We know this isn’t what you want to hear but drinking alcohol can lead to weight gain. You’ve probably heard that alcohol contains empty calories and loads of sugar. Unfortunately, this is true. Alcohol does contain a lot of calories. One 12 ounce beer has 150 calories and a 5 ounce glass of wine has about 120 calories. When you consider that most people don’t drink just one beer or one glass of wine, the calories really start to add up.
Furthermore, alcohol temporarily inhibits lipid oxidation. Lipid oxidation is a measure of how much fat your body is burning. Drinking just a couple glasses of alcohol can reduce whole body lipid oxidation by 73%! That is not helpful for anyone trying to lose weight.
3. Eat Good to Look Good
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is the most important factor is losing stubborn belly fat. Everyone is familiar with the simple caloric equation that governs our body fat composition. That is, calories burned must be more than calories consumed. This is referred to as a caloric deficit. For example, if you burn 3,000 calories per day but only eat 2,500, you have created a deficit of 500 calories per day. Once we are in a caloric deficit our bodies use fat stores for energy. This leads to fat loss. It really is amazingly effective!
Furthermore, eating healthy, nutritious food must be on the top of your priority list. If you are not giving your body the fuel it needs to run effectively, you won’t be able to maintain a healthy lifestyle. A good place to start is with eating whole foods. Whole foods provide your body with enough protein, quality carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and natural insoluble and soluble fiber. Plant based food will give your body everything that it needs in order to function optimally. Not to mention the energy needed for our next tip, exercise.
4. Get Some Exercise
This seems like a no brainer, right? Well, the importance of exercise cannot be overstated. Getting adequate amounts of exercise along with a healthy diet will put you on the fast track to fat loss. Do you remember the caloric deficit equation? Calories burned must be more than calories consumed. If you find it difficult to eat in a caloric deficit, exercise can help you get there. Start by walking every morning. The average person burns about 100 calories per mile. So, if you start the day with a 2 mile walk, that’s 200 calories right there!
In addition, exercise can boost your metabolism. Your metabolism includes all the processes your body goes through in order to turn food into energy. Some people naturally have a faster metabolism than others. Exercise can give your metabolism a boost. When you exercise regularly you will naturally build muscle. Muscle cells require a lot of energy. In fact, muscle cells require more energy than fat cells. So, when you have more muscle, your body will burn more calories, even when you’re not working out!
5. Avoid Sugar
If you have a sweet tooth, you must read! If you are trying to lose weight, cutting back on sugar can be the most challenging part. This is because sugar is actually addicting. Sugar affects the same brain pathways as addictive drugs like cocaine! Why is sugar so bad? For starters, sugar is very calorically dense. The average can of soda contains around 40-50 grams of sugar. If you drink two cans per day this could increase your daily calories by 300-400! Think about how much exercise it would take to burn that extra 300-400 calories.
Furthermore, sugar is made up of basically empty calories. What are empty calories? Empty calories are essentially void of any nutrients. So you get all the calories with none of the nutrients your body needs. This is not conducive to losing belly fat! Sugar also provides very little satiation. Satiation is the physical sensation we feel when we are full. This is why it’s so easy to overindulge on sugary foods and drinks.
6. Ditch Artificial Sweeteners
We know first sugar now artificial sweeteners! Artificial sweeteners won’t help you lose weight. It’s unfortunate but true. But wait! Artificial sweeteners are calorie free, right? Yes, but it’s a bit more complicated than that. What makes artificial sweeteners so bad? Studies have linked artificial sweeteners to weight gain and type 2 diabetes. This is because artificial sweeteners stimulate the same brain rewards centers as sugar. Your brain thinks you’re eating sugar, so it rewards you with dopamine, which makes you want more food. This vicious cycle can lead to overeating and weight gain.
7. Fat Burning Drinks
Time to ditch the soda and drink some green tea! You might not be as enthusiastic about making that switch as we are. Fortunately, there are numerous beverages that can help you to lose stubborn belly fat. Here a few of our favorites:
Not very exciting we know, but water is very effective at weight loss. This is largely due to the satiating effect of water. When you are fully hydrated you tend to feel full and satisfied. Dehydration has the opposite effect. Carry a large water bottle around with you at all times. This will make it easy to drink water throughout the day.
Matcha Green Tea
When it comes to boosting the metabolism and burning fat, few drinks are as effective as match green tea. Match green tea contains catechins. Catechins are antioxidants that fight and may even prevent cell damage. Studies show that consuming catechins can lead to lower BMI and weight loss. Need a boost before going to the gym? Matcha is also very energizing, so it makes a great pre workout drink.
This one is our favorite! Drink fresh vegetable juice. We all know that eating fresh fruit and vegetables is healthy and can help us lose weight. Well, what if you’re not used to eating fruit and vegetables? Drink them instead! Not only are fruits and vegetables loaded with nutrients and enzymes, they also contain lots of fiber. Studies show that fiber can help you lose weight, lower your blood pressure, and improve your body’s response to insulin.
8. Eat More Fat?
That’s right! Well, healthy fats that is. Fat was demonized in the 90’s when low fat, highly processed food took over the world. Fat has since made a well-received comeback. This is not to say that all fats are created equal. Eating the right kind of fat will make or break your fat loss. Choose fats from sources such as avocado, nuts and seeds, and coconut oil. Sorry, pizza does not contain healthy fats. Eating healthy fats can increase satiety, boost metabolism, protect against heart disease, speed nutrients through your body, and improve your fat-soluble vitamin uptake. Next time you make a salad, throw in some avocado and walnuts for a heart healthy and delicious meal.
9. Relax and Meditate
You may be thinking; how can meditation possibly help me lose stubborn belly fat? Simple, meditation reduces stress hormones in the body like cortisol. When we are in a stressful situation our bodies produce cortisol. When we have cortisol pumping through our system our bodies will store calories as fat. So even if you eat healthy and exercise regularly, too much stress can still lead to weight gain. This can lead to a vicious cycle. You can’t lose weight because you’re stressed, and you’re stressed because you can’t lose weight.
Fortunately, you don’t have to sit in the lotus position for hours every day to see the benefits. Studies show that just 25 minutes a day can have profound effects on one’s body and mind. We recommend starting with just 10 minutes in the morning. There are numerous types of meditation. We recommend starting with mindfulness meditation. This involves a non-judgmental awareness of ones thoughts and following the breath. Not every meditation will be perfect and at times you may feel frustrated. The most important thing is that you show up every day and meditate. With practice you will get better.
10. Count Your Steps
You’ve probably heard that the optimum number of steps we should take daily is 10,000. But can taking 10,000 steps daily really help with fat loss? Yes it can! Let’s look at the numbers. 10,000 steps equals approximately 5 miles. Taking 10,000 steps each day typically burns about 2000 to 3500 extra calories each week. You need to burn about 3,500 calories in order to lose one pound of body fat, so depending on your intensity you could burn one pound a week simply by taking 10,000 steps daily. You may require more than 10,000 steps or less to meet your weight loss goals.
We know, taking 10,000 steps sounds like a monumental task! However, it is much easier than you might think. In fact, you might be surprised at the number of daily steps you take already. There are a couple options for tracking steps. You can use a fitness tracker like FitBit or an app like Google Fit. These are both easy and effective ways to track your steps. We recommend first tracking how many steps you take daily, then slowly adding activities that will help you reach your goal.
Which one’s will you try? Let us know!