There’s no quick fix for belly fat, but there are some healthy choices you can make to help you lose it. While you may not see results immediately, a commitment to making the right decisions for your body will help you reach your goals over time.
You’ll want to avoid processed carbs and foods high in sugar, including those found in sodas, cookies, white bread and fried foods. These can cause your blood sugar to spike and lead to weight gain.
1. Increase your soluble fiber intake
One of the easiest ways to increase your soluble fiber intake is to add more fruit and vegetables to your diet. You can also add seeds like hemp or flax to salads and stir them into soups. You can even eat the skins of fruits and veggies like banana peels or apple skins (you’ll get about half the fiber you would by eating the flesh).
Another way to increase your soluble fiber intake is to make sure you are getting enough of it in your diet. Experts say that most people are not getting enough of the dietary fiber they need daily.
You can get your daily amount of fiber by consuming whole fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and high-fiber grains. These foods are good sources of vitamins, minerals and fiber.
The key to increasing your soluble fiber intake is to do so gradually. This gives the bacteria in your digestive tract a chance to adjust and avoid unwanted side effects, such as gas and bloating.
Adding more soluble fiber can help you lose belly fat and keep your blood sugar levels stable. It can also help lower cholesterol and prevent intestinal cancer.
To get the most out of your soluble fiber, try to consume at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. You can also add whole-wheat pasta to your meals and use breads with at least 5 grams of fiber per slice for sandwiches.
Keeping a food diary can be helpful for tracking your soluble fiber intake. You can do this by writing in a physical or electronic book or by using an app on your phone. This helps you monitor your fiber intake and see if there are areas where you need to improve your overall eating habits.
2. Get plenty of sleep
Getting enough sleep is one of the most important things you can do to keep your weight under control. It helps you feel energized and alert during the day, which means you’re more likely to make healthy choices.
However, not sleeping enough can also increase your risk of developing diabetes and heart disease. It can also promote fat storage in the body, particularly around the belly.
This is because when you sleep, your body releases hormones that help regulate the metabolism of different areas of your body. These include melatonin, cortisol and insulin.
When you get enough sleep, these hormones help your body burn fat. Conversely, when you don’t get enough sleep, your body produces stress hormones like cortisol, which can prevent your body from burning fat for energy.
It can also make you crave sugary snacks and foods that are high in calories.
The best way to avoid these temptations is to write down what you eat and drink in a food diary. Record the amount of each item (volume, weight or cups) and what time of the day you ate it.
A food diary is also a good tool to keep track of your overall calorie intake, which is crucial for any diet plan. You can use this tool to track how much you’re eating, whether you’re consuming enough protein and fiber, as well as how many calories are in each food or drink.
It’s a good idea to keep a food diary for at least seven days, as it will help you identify patterns and find ways to improve your diet. You can do this by writing down what you eat and when you eat it, as well as how you feel after you eat it.
3. Keep a food diary
A food diary is a great way to track your dietary habits and help you lose weight. It also gives your doctor or health care provider a better understanding of how much you eat and how you consume food, which can be helpful in designing an eating plan that meets your unique needs.
A diary can be kept on paper or in an app, depending on your needs and preferences. For example, a phone app like MyFitnessPal or Lose It! makes it easy to record meals and snacks.
It’s a good idea to keep a record of your calorie intake, as well as the amount of water you drink. This data will help you understand whether or not you need to consume more water than usual. It can also give you an idea of how much your body needs to stay hydrated and how much water it is losing through urination.
You can also note the time of day you ate and the place you ate at. This can be a good indicator of your “circadian rhythms” — the ebb and flow of energy that is influenced by your daily routines and moods.
If you are overweight, it is especially important to write down your calorie intake to keep track of your progress. It is also useful to keep a record of your overall activity levels and how often you exercise.
Keeping a food diary can be a lot of work at first, but it’s a necessary part of any diet. Over time, it will become second nature to consciously consider your dietary choices.
You can start a journal by writing down your entire food intake for one day, or even an entire week at a time. Eventually, you’ll begin to notice patterns and pitfalls that may be contributing to your weight gain. Taking note of what you eat will help you avoid unhealthy foods and improve your overall diet.
4. Get more exercise
Getting more exercise can help burn belly fat. It can also help improve your mood, boost your sex life and increase energy levels.
Ideally, you should aim to get about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity each week. For most people, this will mean 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity almost every day.
It’s important to get a variety of types of exercise, including aerobic (cardio) workouts, strength training and HIIT exercises. Doing more than one type of exercise can help you stay motivated and ensure that you’re burning a sufficient number of calories each week.
Another way to lose belly fat is to cut out unhealthy fats in your diet. Trans fats, which are partially hydrogenated oils found in foods such as shortening and margarine, are bad for your heart and your weight.
So, be sure to read labels carefully and choose products that contain a low amount of trans fats.
To get more exercise, make it a priority to do at least a few minutes of brisk walking, running or swimming each day. Try adding a few high-intensity interval training (HIIT) sessions into your routine as well to speed up your metabolism and shed excess calories more quickly.
Do ‘Non-Exercise’ Activities As Well If you play with your kids, clean the house or dance in the kitchen, you can count those as part of your movement quota.
If you want to see faster results, consider adding resistance training (such as weight lifting) to your workout routine. Studies have shown that weight-training can lead to greater weight loss than cardio alone, and it can also reduce the amount of belly fat you have.
5. Cut back on trans fats
If you’re looking to lose belly fat, you may want to cut back on trans fats. These unsaturated fats are found in many processed foods, and they’re not good for your health.
You can avoid these fats by checking the labels on the food items you eat. Look for ingredients that say “partially hydrogenated oil” or similar words, and make sure you’re only buying foods that are free of them.
Some people also find it helpful to keep a food diary, where they record what and how much they eat every day. Keeping track of what you eat can help you maintain a healthy weight and stay motivated to lose belly fat.
Another great way to get more soluble fiber is to eat fruit. The soluble fiber in fruits absorbs water and forms a gel, which slows down the speed at which food travels through your digestive system.
Soluble fiber has been shown to reduce belly fat and other harmful body fats by helping you feel full so you naturally eat less. In fact, an older observational study found that participants who increased their soluble fiber intake by 10 grams (g) per day lost 3.7 percent of their abdominal fat over five years (5).
You should also avoid sugary beverages, as these can quickly add up in your daily calorie intake. Drinking large amounts of fruit juice, for example, can contribute to excessive weight gain due to the high sugar content.
If you’re looking to shed that belly fat, you may want to consider cutting back on trans fats and keeping a food diary. These two steps can help you achieve your weight loss goals more easily and effectively.