Ready to hear the dirty little secret no one tells you about how to lose stomach fat?
The secret is — you can’t. At least, not the way that you think.
Studies show that blasting your abs with tons of crunches won’t trim your belly fat, just like doing curls won’t give you tighter arms and squats won’t give you leaner legs.
Spot reducing fat, or picking and choosing where you’d like to lose fat on your body, is a complete and utter myth.
The only way to get a leaner midsection is to shed fat from your entire body. To do this, you’ll need the right combination of diet strategy and exercise — something you can stick to long enough for your body to start tapping into the fat stores in your belly.
There are as many approaches to losing weight as there are people on this planet, but no matter who you are, here are 10 diet hacks to keep you on track as you lean down in your quest for a flat stomach.
1. Create a Consistent Calorie Deficit
Eating the right number of calories on a daily basis is the number one driver of fat loss. Don’t let the low-fat or low-carb gurus fool you!
What’s the right number of calories?
Well, a calorie is a unit of energy that our bodies primarily derive from food. Every day, we burn a certain number of calories depending on our size, age, gender, and activity levels.
To burn fat, which is to say, to force our bodies to tap into our fat reserves and use them for energy instead of food, we need to eat fewer calories than we burn in a day.
The key is not to overcomplicate your diet by demonizing specific food groups or macronutrients.
Aim for a deficit of about 500 calories per day. The easiest method to calculate this is to multiply by 12 calories per pound of bodyweight and eat that many calories every day.
If you do nothing else on this list except consistently hit your daily calorie target, you WILL lose weight.
2. Eat Slower and Be Patient
Eating fewer calories to lose weight is really simple, but that’s not to say that it’s easy.
Forcing your body to burn its fat stores for energy is an uncomfortable process that might leave you feeling drained and with less energy, while getting used to smaller meals may leave you feeling hungry at first.
One great workaround is to eat slower, chew more, and be patient.
There is evidence to support the idea that eating more slowly can increase how satisfied and full some people feel after a meal, and decrease your desire to eat more.
It simply takes time for your stomach to communicate to your brain that it’s full and satisfied! If you eat quickly, you might bypass this signal and wind up eating more than you really needed to feel full.
Not only that, but it takes a solid 2 to 3 hours for your body to convert food you’ve just eaten into actual, usable energy. Even after eating a large meal while dieting, you may still feel hungry, but that doesn’t mean you need to eat more.
If you’re patient enough and allow your body to do its work, you’ll usually feel a jolt of energy a few hours after eating.
3. Eat More Protein
If you hit the right number of calories every day, you’ll be well on your way toward losing your belly, regardless of the overall makeup of your diet.
However, there is lots of evidence to suggest that people interested in fat loss should consider a diet high in protein.
People who eat more protein are generally more satisfied and tend to eat fewer calories overall. Plus, a healthy dose of protein every day will help you preserve more muscle mass and encourage your body to lose more fat.
Your protein needs will vary depending on your gender and activity levels, but most people should shoot for at least 40 to 50 grams of protein every day.
4. Delay Your First Meal
Ever heard of intermittent fasting? It’s an eating style wherein you drastically reduce your eating window during the day while remaining fasted the rest of the time. For example, you might be “allowed” to eat for 8 hours, from noon to 8pm, while the rest of the time you only drink water.
The health benefits of fasting are vast and go far beyond weight loss and include boosts in mood, energy, focus, longevity, and more.
However, you needn’t jump right into long, extended fasts, though they can be extremely effective.
Try pushing your first meal back just a few hours after you wake up. You’ll likely trigger more fat burning than you would by eating right away, and surprisingly, you’ll probably be a lot less hungry eating nothing than you would after eating a small breakfast.
Even mild fasting can dramatically decrease your overall appetite and calorie intake throughout the day.
5. Work Your Core
I know I said you can’t force your body to lose stomach fat, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared for the day that it does!
Work your abdominal and core muscles 2 to 3 times per week to build strength in your midsection. As you begin to lose fat, you’ll discover better tone and definition in that area than if you ignored it.
What are the best core exercises? Leave the crunches on the bench and try some more challenging moves like:
- Hanging leg raises
- Reverse sit ups
- Incline sit ups
- Ab wheel roll outs
You can find more here: 5 Killer Stomach Workouts for Impressive Abs
You don’t need much, just 2 to 3 sets of 20 reps or so a few times per week should be plenty to build those abs and prepare them for their big reveal.
6. Do the Right Kind of Cardio
Believe it or not, exercise is completely optional when it comes to losing weight. If you eat the right number of calories, the fat will come off regardless.
However, it will be much easier to create your consistent calorie deficit if you’re active and burning extra calories at least a few times per week. Plus, exercising is a whole lot better for your health that not exercising.
Cardio can definitely help! But you’ll have a few choices for how to go about it:
- LISS (Low Intensity Steady State): Going for a long walk or light jog would be considered low intensity cardio. The benefits of this kind of exercise are that you’ll burn calories without taxing your body too badly and driving up your appetite. The downside? It can be kind of boring and lengthy, therefore difficult to incorporate on a consistent basis as a result.
- HISS (High Intensity Steady State): Think going for a long run. The plus side of HISS is that you’ll burn more calories a lot faster when compared to LISS, however these workouts are more draining and difficult to recover from. You may find yourself extremely hungry as a result of the exertion.
- HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training): HIIT refers to short bursts of intense exercise followed by stretches of rest or long intensity work. Imagine walking on a treadmill and occasionally working in high-speed sprints, or doing a circuit of pushups, air squats, lunges, etc. with rest intervals worked in. These workouts burn a ton of calories quickly and dramatically improve your conditioning, but they can also be difficult for your body to recover from and can drive up your appetite.
Each form of cardio has its place, but for fat loss, I’d recommend sticking mostly with LISS or HIIT workouts to burn extra calories a few times per week.
Read more: https://www.lifehack.org/834739/lose-stomach-fat