How to Reduce Belly Fat – Exercises and Diet Plan
May 17, 2023
May 17, 2023
Belly fat is the visceral fat surrounding the liver and other organs in the abdomen, close to the portal vein that carries blood to the liver. Belly fat can be prevented and controlled by individuals up to a great extent by making the necessary lifestyle and dietary modifications. All one needs is perseverance and the will to make a shift for the better. That said, spot reduction is not a practice that is recommended by HealthifyMe. However, we look at what one can do to reduce belly fat in a healthy and sustainable manner.
Contrary to popular belief, people with a normal body mass index(BMI), can also develop belly fat increasing their risk of metabolic syndrome.
Here are a few potential reasons for the accumulation of excessive belly fat:
One’s activity levels also play a major role in the accumulation of belly fat. Lack of adequate exercise has a big influence on belly fat. By consuming more calories than you burn, you may accumulate fat in your body. As more and more fat accumulates in the body, it becomes more challenging to reduce it. Additionally, it has been observed that people who performed resistance training or aerobic exercise for a year after losing weight were able to prevent abdominal fat gain, while those who did not exercise faced a 25-38% increase in belly fat.
Studies show that individuals with genetic strains linked to obesity have a higher chance of accumulating fats around their bellies. That is because these genes dictate how our bodies react to foods and our metabolic rate. A person with an inherently slow metabolic rate is thus more likely to develop a bigger belly.
Studies have shown a link between high sugar intake and excess belly fat. This is mainly due to the refined sugar either in the form of sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup added during processing. While excess sugar in any form can be harmful, sugar-sweetened beverages are especially problematic as it is easy to over consume liquids.
Another possible cause of belly fat is alcohol. A study has shown that alcohol may be a risk factor for obesity for some individuals, especially when consumed in large quantities. Furthermore, many studies show that individuals with drinking and smoking habits have higher fat accumulation in the belly region than individuals who indulge in neither.
Cortisol, commonly called the ‘stress hormone’, is produced by the adrenal glands in stressful situations. While stress drives overeating, cortisol causes the excess calories to be stored as fat in the belly. Higher long-term cortisol levels are strongly related to abdominal obesity, according to this study. Long-term stress can lead to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and worsen it for those who already have the condition. This can result in bloating and gas. Furthermore, short-term stress can cause belly issues such as vomiting and diarrhoea.
In addition to the higher BMI, excessive fat accumulation in the abdomen area can potentially pose the following health risks:
One cannot reduce belly fat overnight. A long-term plan is the best approach to losing belly fat. However, following the above tips can take you one step closer to your fat loss goals. That said, it is ideal to speak to an expert before you get started on your weight loss goals. Speak to some of India’s best nutritionists and fitness coaches, and begin your fat loss journey.
In order to reduce belly fat, one needs to follow a well-planned routine. Here are a few tips that can help one reduce the accumulation of fat in the abdominal region:
Sleep affects various aspects of one’s health, including belly fat accumulation. Research shows that adults who get less than 6 hours develop more visceral fat.
Sleep deprivation leads to an increase in ghrelin levels and a lowering of the leptin levels in the body, thus increasing hunger.
Lack of sleep is also responsible for metabolic and endocrine alterations, resulting in impaired glucose tolerance. A study suggests that people with irregular sleeping schedules are more likely to experience unhealthy eating behaviours like binge eating or emotional eating. So while you are able to keep a check on your comfort food craving when you are well-rested, sleep deprivation may make you unable to resist temptations. This can cause a hormonal imbalance in the body and lead to weight gain.
A minimum of 8 hours of quality sleep every night is a must to keep one’s fat gain under control. The quality of sleep is as essential as the total duration of your bedtime. Read more about the connection between improper sleep and weight gain.
There is a positive correlation between water consumption and weight loss. Studies show that water helps the body metabolize stored fat efficiently.
Drinking water throughout the day gives you a feeling of being full and helps keep your appetite at bay. Sometimes, our body mistakes thirst for hunger, so it’s always advisable to have some water before grabbing a snack to check on what your body is actually demanding.
It goes without saying that water is the best ‘beverage’ to quench your thirst. Any juice or carbonated drink contains sugar that increases your calorie intake so it’s best to choose water over anything else.
Exercising daily is proven to have helped with body-weight management. While that stands undisputed, there are various arguments with regard to the intensity of daily exercise routines.
However, your workout plans should be directly proportional to gender, age and BMI.
It is ideal to consult a personal fitness trainer before getting started on high-intensity resistance training.
Extra calories in any form get stored in the body as fat. It is ideal to keep track of the number of calories being consumed and burnt on a daily basis. This can help avoid fat accumulation in the body.
There are a number of factors that influence your calorie requirements making it challenging to track them accurately. Hence, it is best to use a calorie calculator that can help you determine your calorie requirement and how many calories you eat and burn. Additionally, a dietician can offer you a customised solution as per your need. Make progress towards consistent and holistic health with HealthifyPro. The HealthifyPro coaches guide you in the right direction and the Smart Calorie tracker can help you keep track of your nutrition the smart way.
You can also refer to our blog ‘Calorie Calculator: An Efficient Way to Focus on Your Weight Maintenance’ to learn more.
Breakfast is hailed as the most important meal, as it provides the essential energy levels to begin your day. Studies show that skipping breakfast leads to poor metabolic health.
Additionally, on days you skip breakfast, you are more likely to make poor food choices throughout the day. Eating a healthy breakfast during the day helps reduce cravings and prevents excessive hunger throughout the day. Remember to make your breakfast wholesome and healthy by including natural foods such as eggs, oats, fruits and nuts.
While food and exercise lay the groundwork for weight loss, there are a few other significant factors as well. With respect to food, it is important that you make conscious and aware decisions. Most people tend to avoid eating breakfast which is detrimental to their weight management goal and leads to poor metabolic outcomes. A healthy breakfast gives you the energy to kickstart your day keep a check on your cravings. Calorie counting is a great way to keep a tab on your dietary habits. In order to lose weight or burn fat it is important that one maintains a calorie deficit i.e. burns more calories than one consumes.
Coming to sleep, its deprivation or even irregular patterns can interfere with the body’s metabolism and endocrine system. It further encourages unhealthy food choices causing a degenerative cycle. Adequate water intake is also of great importance. It speeds up metabolism, keeps appetite at bay and works as a natural energiser.
Workout is a key part of almost every weight loss journey. Exercises that specifically target the abdominal area would go a long way in helping reduce belly fat. Here are 4 exercises that you can do to lose belly fat.
Eating the right kind of food is central to losing belly fat. It is ideal to follow a well-thought-out diet planned as per your needs and requirements.
We have put together a 1200-calorie diet plan to help you understand how you can go about planning your diet. However, it must be noted that a 1500-calorie diet plan is ideal for men, while a 1200-calorie diet plan works better for women.
That said, dietary requirements vary from person to person. Understand what plan works best for you by consulting a nutritionist, and choose your diet accordingly.
Lemon Cinnamon Water(1 glass)
Vegetable Sandwich(1 sandwich) Skimmed Milk(1 glass)
Watermelon(1 cup, diced) Almond(5 almonds)
Masala Khichdi(2 katori) Sprouts Curd Salad(1 katori) Low Fat Curd Kadhi(1 katori)
Green Tea(1 tea cup)
Boiled Chana(0.5 katori)
Chapati(2 piece) Palak Paneer(1 katori) Cucumber(0.5 cucumber (8-1/4″))
Skimmed Milk(1 cup)
Ensure that your diet is balanced and that you are consuming as many nutrients as possible, while also making sure you burn more calories than your daily intake. For a better understanding of how to plan your diet for a week, take a look at the weekly plan here.
Protein is arguably the most important macronutrient for weight loss as it reduces appetite, overeating and cravings. Studies say that protein-rich foods can help you feel fuller for extended periods, thus helping with weight loss. Compared to carbs, protein takes longer to digest and helps to reduce overall calorie intake.
On top of that protein not only supports building muscle mass but even prevents muscle loss in case you are on a calorie-restricted diet.
Common protein-rich foods are legumes, yoghurt, cottage cheese and milk among others as eggs, lean meat, chicken and fish.
However, be mindful of your portion as overconsumption of protein-rich foods can lead to a number of health complications. Read this article to know about the side effects of a high-protein diet.
Carbohydrate-rich foods such as white bread, rice, cakes and biscuits and sugary foods such as soft drinks, packed juice, and chocolates result in high amounts of glucose being released into the bloodstream on eating. In order to get this heavy load of glucose out of the bloodstream, insulin is secreted by the pancreas.
High levels of insulin over time result in fat storage, specifically around the abdomen. So in order to control the amount of insulin we have to manage our carb intake.
Cutting carbs can help you lose weight, but doing that without proper knowledge may cause potential risks, including muscle cramps, fatigue, nutritional deficiency and poor health. Thus there are a few points to remember before going on a low-carb diet. For safe and long-term weight loss, the type of carb you eat is more important than the quantity.
Simple carbs are easy to digest and raise your chances of gaining weight. Hence, you should prefer complex carbs as they are rich in fibre, and vitamins and have a low to medium glycemic index. Eating healthy carbs will keep your sugar levels stable and reduce belly fat.
When any type of oil is exposed to heat (from a flame or an oven), its molecular formula changes and the hydrogen atoms are dispersed in the heat, causing doubling and tripling of bonds, resulting in ‘transformed’ fat. This is known as Trans Fat and is visible from the change in colour of oil from yellow to black or dark brown.
Unregulated consumption of trans fat increases blood cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease. It slows down the ability of muscle cells to use glucose as an energy source. When these muscle cells cannot use glucose, it stays in the bloodstream and makes its levels rise dramatically, resulting in surges of insulin and increased fat storage, centred around the belly.
Soluble fibre forms a gel with water that slows down food as it passes through your digestive system. This type of fibre promotes weight loss as it helps you feel fuller for longer thereby preventing unnecessary food intake.
If you’re planning to switch to a high fiber diet, remember to do it gradually to give your body time to adjust. Abdominal discomfort, cramps, and even diarrhoea are common side effects if you ramp up your fibre intake too quickly.
The fallouts of alcohol consumption are exponentially high. One way alcohol negatively impacts your body is by increasing the risk of abdominal obesity. 1 g of alcohol provides 7 kcal and can quickly add up to one’s daily calorie intake.Alcohol consumption causes greater hunger and less satiety further pushing one to make poor food choices.
It further causes stress on the stomach and the intestines. This leads to a decrease in digestive secretions through the tract which is essential for healthy digestion. Alcohol intake of all levels can lead to impaired digestion and absorption of these nutrients. This can greatly affect the metabolism of organs that play a role in weight management.
Green tea is packed with nutrients and antioxidants that increase fat burning, help you lose weight, and boost health in many different ways.
This healthy beverage contains an Antioxidant Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) which boosts metabolism. EGCG can also make people consume fewer calories by acting as a natural appetite suppressant that helps you lose weight. Green Tea is also a great source of caffeine, a well-known stimulant that has been found to help your body burn both fat and calories.
Avoid adding sweeteners (such as sugar, honey, milk or cream) to your green tea if you want to best reap its benefits. The effect of the antioxidants in green tea may be strengthened when its consumption is combined with exercise.
However, like any other food and beverage, excess green tea consumption has potential side effects.
Read our article about the Potential Side Effects of Excess Green Tea.
Maintaining a healthy diet is one of the cornerstones of any healthy diet plan. When it comes to losing belly fat, there are a few tips to keep in mind. For starters, have a protein and fibre-rich diet. These macronutrients provide you with energy and keep you full for extended periods thereby, reducing your calorie intake. Avoid simple carbs that digest quickly and choose complex and healthy carbs that have a low GI and are rich in vitamins. Avoid transfat foods such as junk food, fast food etc. Alcohol should also be off-limit if you wan tot reduce belly fat. Instead, make green tea your go -to beverage as it assists in weightloss.
Belly fat is a concern as it increases the risk of chronic diseases. There is no quick fix for belly fat and it needs long-term sustainable changes. The good news is that stress management, a healthy diet and an exercise routine can help reduce it gradually.
Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is just to disperse knowledge and raise awareness. It does not intend to replace medical advice from professionals. For further information please contact our certified nutritionists Here
Water consumption increases weight loss during a hypocaloric diet intervention in middle-aged and older adults – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19661958/
A: Exercises that specifically target the abdominal area go a long way in helping reduce belly fat. Four exercises that you can do to lose belly fat are vertical leg crunch, bicycle exercise, crunches and bird dog.
A: A diet that is rich in protein and soluble fibre while being low in carbohydrates and trans-fats helps burn belly fat. Avoiding alcohol also helps reduce belly fat faster.
A: Lemon is rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants that help in improving your metabolism and flush out the toxins from your body. Lemons also have diuretic properties, which help in detoxifying the body, thereby burning fat. However, no single food can burn belly fat. It needs to be accompanied by a well-balanced diet and exercise routine.
A: 7 of the most fibrous fruits that when eaten daily, have the power to reduce your belly fat are apple, tomato, orange, guava, strawberry, kiwi and avocado.
A: This is a very unrealistic goal as only a steady gradual approach with positive lifestyle habits on a long-term basis will help to achieve a reduction in overall body fat.
A: You can consume key beverages, designed to help you reach your health goals. A few of them are green tea, black tea, black coffee and apple cider vinegar drinks. When you take liquids regularly, it boosts your metabolism. Consuming these drinks can also help keep away the hunger pangs that make you binge on unhealthy junk food.
A: Eggs have gained a reputation for being one of the healthiest diet foods for weight loss. Eggs, apart from their rich protein content, have a nutrient called choline which is known to attack the mechanism that triggers your body to store fat around your liver which supports metabolism. However, no single food can burn belly fat. It needs to be accompanied by a well-balanced diet and exercise routine.
A: Green tea can help you lose fat, especially abdominal. It is rich in antioxidant contents, caffeine and EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) that stimulate fat burning through faster metabolism. Another way that green tea aids weight loss is by managing appetite which would make you consume fewer calories effortlessly.
A: Milk has a good mix of fat, calcium and essential nutrients that provides energy to keep you active throughout the day. It boosts metabolism which catalyses weight loss faster and in a healthier way. Milk has a blend of good fat necessary for the body that strenthens bones and maintains a good muscle mass, making your body stronger from the core. Drinking a glass of milk helps counter dehydration and serves as a better alternative to sugary drinks.
A: Cucumber provides an ample amount of necessary nutrients like vitamins C and K that help you lose weight. Cucumber has zero fat, low calories, and a negligible amount of sugar that will help you lose weight effectively. It is 90 per cent water; thus hydrates the body and controls appetite.
A: Bananas are rich in carbohydrates and calories, which help gain weight naturally. Bananas are fairly high in sugar, which can turn into body fat more quickly than other nutrients. However, bananas are rich in fibre content and control the hunger hormones that make you feel full for longer. Their sweet taste and creamy texture may also help reduce unhealthy cravings. Thus bananas cannot be directly linked to weight gain or loss but are linked to various other factors like portion size, time of consumption and lifestyle pattern.
A: There are many ways to lose weight without dieting.
Drink enough water
Get proper sleep
Never skip breakfast
Count your calories
A: Excessive high-intensity or long-duration exercise pushes your body past limits. This causes hormonal imbalance in your body leading to fatigue, reduced performance, and weight gain, especially around the abdominal region.
A: Following a moderately healthy diet and regular walking can help you get results faster. It also helps maintain the weight in the long term. Walking is simple, and that is why you do not feel winded as you would after a heavy workout. Your joints, especially your knees and hips, get a good workout when you walk. It gives you more flexibility. Gradually, you can then start increasing your pace and walking duration. That will help you burn more calories. Your body’s insulin management gets better with regular walking. In addition, it allows you to shed a lot of belly fat. Walking can also help tone and define the muscles in your legs, calves, and buttocks.
A: Going on a Walk in the morning on an empty stomach is one of the best ways to naturally boost your metabolism and burn more calories throughout the day.
Your blood sugar levels and glycogen stores are the lowest when you wake in the morning. Thus, burning off the little sugar and extra carbs you have stored in your body as fats is the fastest way to lose a few kgs.
A: Men’s waists should be less than 37 inches around, and women’s waists should be less than 31 inches, though this can vary depending on race or ethnicity. However, speaking generally, if your waist size is larger than the above-mentioned range, you should consider consulting a fitness coach or nutritionist.
A: Belly slimming creams typically contain ingredients that target fat receptors to prevent further fat storage. Once absorbed into the skin, it promotes fat burning and the prevention of new fat development. However, their usefulness and safety are debatable and must get discussed with a healthcare provider before use. Plus, they cannot replace the need for a balanced diet and regular exercise.
A: You can reduce the amount of fat in the abdominal region in one month by undergoing extensive aerobic exercises. These exercises include weight training exercises and abdominal exercises. In addition, you should also follow a strictly healthy diet. Have foods such as whole grains, fibre-rich fruits and vegetables, lean meats, fatty fish, green tea, black coffee, nuts and seeds which help burn belly fat faster. Avoid consuming junk food and processed foods with synthetic additives.
A: The pelvis and lower back lean forward due to excess abdominal fat. It causes back discomfort by creating a permanent and circular arch in the back. This persistent discomfort may develop as back pain.
A: A hormonal belly or menopause belly is usually observed in the case of women in their late 40s and through their 50s. It occurs during menopause when the body sees a natural shift in hormones. The sudden decline in oestrogen levels causes the fats to get stored in one’s tummy rather than getting spread out proportionately across the body. Other causes could be PCOS or hypothyroidism as they can alter hormonal balance.
A: Both yoga and fitness have their own advantages. Yoga involves more stretching and relaxation, whereas fitness deals with the contraction of muscles. There is no way of saying one works better than the other for losing belly fat. It depends on each individual’s own body type and choices.
A: This is a very subjective question and the answer depends entirely on how well you adhere to following positive habits in your life. Moreover, it’s not about losing belly fat in 7 days but looking at how to keep it from coming back. It’s about developing a healthy lifestyle that will enable you to keep yourself fit. So, please avoid any shortcuts as they will cause detrimental side effects on your health. Work on improving things in the nutrition and fitness front, one step at a time, to achieve your goal on a long-term basis.
A: Yes, postpartum is one of the most common causes of belly fat in women. The abdominal region has to stretch out and distend outwards during pregnancy to ensure the child is safe in the womb. During this time, the body stores some fat in the abdomen to provide an energy bank to the mother. It also provides a cushion against possible external injury to the child. After the child’s birth, the skin and internal structure of the abdominal region need time to rearrange themselves into the normal layout. Many times, the fat doesn’t get burnt out, causing a lower belly pooch.
A: There are many dietary, lifestyle, and hormonal factors that cause women to get a big stomach. The most significant factors are the amount of calories consumed, the type of food one consumes, and the amount of physical activity. Also, genetics often lead to a big stomach in women. These genes sometimes lead to fats being stored mainly in the stomach area. Additionally, women also go through hormonal shifts during menopause. For example, a drop in oestrogen levels during menopause causes fat to be stored in the stomach rather than distributed over the body
Visceral fat and subcutaneous fat. Visceral fat is fat that surrounds the liver and other abdominal organs. It is also called intra-abdominal fat which accounts for 10% of total body fat and gets hidden beneath the firm abdominal wall. Having excess visceral fat puts you at risk for chronic diseases like metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer. The subcutaneous layer of fat is located just beneath the skin. Subcutaneous fat accounts for around 90% of total body fat in most people. It is also less hazardous to your health and acts as a layer of insulation to help you control your body temperature.
A: In some cases, when people struggle to lose body fat they opt for medical procedures that are quicker In such cases, medical professionals recommend going for medical procedures. Some of the most popular ones are abdominal wall surgery, liposuction and cool sculpting.
A: Certain yoga postures directly target belly fat and help build core strength too. Breathing exercises like kapalbhati, combined with some posture-holding practices, can help trim your waistline. Some asanas that target belly fat include boat pose (nauakasana), ninety degree leg raise (uthidapadasana) and plank (chaturangandasana).