The most effective way to trim your waistline is with total body-fat loss. You can't choose where your body burns fat, but when you lose weight with a healthy diet and plenty of exercise, your belly will shrink proportionately. That said, the latest research reveals that a few other tricks may help you flatten your belly, and could be worth trying along with your weight-loss program.
You lose weight by eating fewer calories than you need to sustain everyday activities, causing your body to dip into fat stores for fuel. When you burn 3,500 more calories than you eat, you lose approximately 1 pound of fat. For safe and healthy fat loss, aim to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week, which means consuming 500 to 1,000 calories less than you use each day. For adequate nutrition, however, women shouldn't consume fewer than 1,200 calories per day and men shouldn't consume fewer than 1,500 calories per day, according to Harvard Medical School. Consult a physician before making major dietary changes or starting a new workout routine.
Performing regular cardio exercise is one of the best ways to reduce stomach fat, according to Kerry Stewart, director of clinical research exercise physiology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Stewart claims that cardio will burn visceral fat, which sits deep in your abdomen, more quickly than subcutaneous fat, which sits just under the skin throughout your body. Engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate cardio, such as cycling on flat terrain or walking quickly, each week. Vigorous activities such as jogging and taking a high-impact aerobics class are even more effective.
Sculpting your abdominal muscles doesn't affect belly fat deposits, but it does add shape for a more fit appearance. Planks, which involve lying with your weight on your toes and forearms while keeping your body rigid, as well as crunches and exercise-ball activities are all good choices for abs. For balance, also lift weights or perform body-weight exercises such as pushups for all other areas: arms, legs, chest, back and buttocks.
People who eat whole grains instead of refined grains tend to have lower visceral fat levels, according to a study published in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" in 2010. To get more whole grains, swap white bread and flour tortillas for whole-wheat and corn versions. In addition, Harvard Medical School reports that cutting trans fats and fructose-sweetened foods from your diet may help fight visceral fat, as can quitting smoking.
- Harvard Health Publications: Calorie Counting Made Easy
- U.S. News Health: You May Be Fat and Not Even Know It
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity do Adults Need?
- American Council on Exercise: Top Tips and Never-Before Seen Exercises for Training the Abs
- Medical News Today: Less Refined, More Whole Grains Linked To Lower Body Fat
- Harvard Health Publications: Taking Aim at Belly Fat
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