Learn how to lose belly fat naturally and why it might be more important than you think. We’ll also talk about whether belly fat loss in a week or two is an actual thing!
Nowadays, many people will complain about their belly fat and feel self-conscious about it. And not only women – but lots of men also have a tummy. Even if you are generally skinny, you might have a bit more fat situated in your abdominal area. There are plenty of different reasons why you can accumulate fat there, which we’ll go over together.
If you don’t feel comfortable with the excess fat around your belly and want to get rid of it, good for you. We’ve got some tips to help you out!
What to do and what to avoid, and we’re also going to discuss how to lose belly fat in as little as a week. (Yes, it’s possible. No, it’s not a drastic loss. You can’t have everything, can you?)
What is belly fat?
Fat is adipose tissue that can be located anywhere on your body – legs, arms, buttocks, and sadly, even your face. Fat accumulates when you eat more food than you use up. In that case, the energy from the extra food is stored as fat that your body can use “on rainy days”.
In normal amounts, fat is used as a ‘plan B’ for energy. Let’s say you’ve been running a marathon. Since that’s a lot of physical activity your body needs all the energy it can get. So, that’s when your little fat ‘stores’ come into play and get to be used up.
However, most of us don’t run a marathon every day. We sit, we eat, we drink beers with friends. And if we don’t keep our habits and diet in check, that fat can spread out and accumulate more and more taking over and causing a lot of trouble.
Okay, there’s that. But, what’s a bit scarier about belly fat is that it’s not the same as the fat on your legs for example. See, usually, fat is stored right under the skin, but it’s a different story with belly fat. Most of the fat in our bellies is stored in the abdominal cavity. It’s called visceral fat. This type of fat sits right there along with your inner organs like intestines, kidneys and liver. It releases free fatty acids continuously and acts as its own endocrine organ secreting pro-inflammatory molecules as well as hormones leading to huge health implications.
Good Reasons To Lose Excess belly fat
So, belly fat might not be a Mona Lisa to look at, but the actual reason you want to get rid of it is that it’s straight-up dangerous and, to sound really dramatic, life-threatening. As I mentioned before, belly fat is all around your abdominal organs. I mean just the sound of that – rings alarms, right?
But the reason that’s a problem is that fat is a secretory organ. It actually produces pro-inflammatory cytokines and hormones that go straight to your inner organs, leading to low-grade systemic inflammation and disease.
From there abdominal fat can contribute to the development of a wide array of health issues. We’ve all heard about insulin resistance, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease (source).
But excess belly fat can cause even more trouble and is linked to the development of asthma (source), dementia (source), certain types of cancers (source) and inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis (source).
And as you can see, abdominal adiposity isn’t that harmless and actually poses a threat to your health. So wanting to lose excess belly fat isn’t just about vanity. Just as holding onto it has nothing to do with loving your body. What’s actually important is our health, our biology and our well-being. And taking care of those. We need to prioritize and prioritize well. When it comes to your body, always prioritize health.
Can You Lose Belly Fat Within A Week?
Yes, you can lose belly fat in just a week or two. But be suspicious when someone promises to help you lose 10 pounds in two weeks. First of all, it’s not realistic and second, it’s not healthy. Set realistic goals. If you lose 1 pound of fat overall this week is it better than 0? Yes. So start with that. It will compound over time.
Now let’s get to the real deal. Here’s how to realistically lose belly fat in a healthy natural way!
How to lose Belly fat Naturally
After discussing what it is, where it comes from and why it’s necessary to address belly fat, I think it’s time to look at the solutions. Remember, even the smallest effort repeated over time will have an effect. So, start somewhere and start today – you’ll be losing tummy fat before you know it!
1. Eat Vitamin C-Rich Foods
So, foods that exclusively help you lose belly fat don’t really exist. Sorry to burst your bubbles. You can eat all the chili powder you want, it won’t burn that abdominal fat.
What does exist is healthy food, which improves your overall well-being and helps with losing weight from your whole body. And it allows you to stop gaining more.
When it comes to losing belly fat, or fat in general, foods that can greatly benefit you are those high in vitamin C. (source)
How exactly? Well, vitamin C helps is needed for fat oxidation. So in studies, it was proven that people who had a good intake of vitamin C could oxidize 30% more fat while exercising than people who didn’t consume enough of it. (source)
So, something easy you can do here is go ahead and stock up on bell peppers, oranges, lemons, kiwis, strawberries, broccoli, grapefruits, cabbage and lots of other fruits and vegetables in order to get your daily dose of healthy vitamin C (we need around 75 – 90 mg a day). (source)
You can enjoy these foods in smoothies, salads or plain as low-calorie snacks. In fact, if you’re looking for healthy recipes to help you lose weight, check out our recipe collection.
2. Improve your gut health
The well-being of your gut flora goes hand in hand with healthy eating. Your diet is important because it directly influences your gut microbiome (the millions of microorganisms that digest your food).
Gut health can make or break you – literally. You need to keep it in check otherwise you can suffer from loads of problems, mainly due to nutrient deficiencies. From mood swings and food cravings when you’re not actually hungry to more serious types of health problems.
To improve your gut health, you’ve got to eat some pro- and prebiotics, as well as food high in fiber and water (source). You also need to reduce stress and chew more. All of these habits help with digestion and peristalsis and keep the little critters in your gut happy and healthy.
3. Avoid Dairy and High-Carb foods
As delicious as they are, dairy and simple carbs aren’t the best choice if you’re looking to lose belly fat. They directly affect your blood sugar, causing spikes and ultimately leading to insulin resistance and accumulation of fat around your tummy.
But I don’t need to tell you about it, you’ve probably had a period of time when you were eating pizza, doughnuts and croissants and know where it goes. Within days, this combo settles around your waist as a ring of fat, right?
More than that, high-carb foods and dairy can cause chronic inflammation due to their influence on your gut flora and blood sugar.
4. Practice intermittent fasting
So, what is intermittent fasting aka IF exactly? Well, it’s the voluntary abstinence from food and certain drinks for a period of time during the 24 hours of the day. It’s a type of time-restricted eating. Meaning you eat all your food within a certain time frame. The most common intermittent fasting schedule is 16/8 – meaning you fast for 16 hours and eat within the other 8 hours of the day. But you could also do a 18/6 or 20/4 fasting schedule.
Intermittent fasting brings along quite a few benefits with it. Improved metabolism, better gut health, and reduced nighttime food cravings among others. (source)
It’s also shown to result in significant weight loss among obese patients as well as improved glycemic control among type 2 diabetics. (source)
All those factors can help you lose overall fat including fat around your belly and keep it off. Therefore try it and adjust the schedule to fit your lifestyle and preferences.
5. Get The Right Amount Of Sleep
Sleep is extremely important, yet many people neglect their body’s needs and their sleep schedule. Sleep can help with metabolism processes and affects how your body breaks down macromolecules. (source)
Well, when it comes to weight and fat gain, sleep deprivation and oversleeping can have a negative impact on your body. For example, a study found that sleeping less than 5 hours a night can result in significant weight gain and obesity compared to sleeping 7 hours. (source)
Lack of sleep or poor sleep is specifically associated with the accumulation of visceral fat like the one in your abdominal cavity (source).
You get it. The bottom line is that if you don’t sleep, your body can’t rest properly. You probably know this yourself. If you didn’t sleep well or enough, you wake up feeling groggy and tired. And because of that, you don’t have enough energy to go through your day. So what do you do? Eat food.
But you’re tired, so you’re most likely not going to start cooking a nice, healthy meal, and would rather buy something processed and ready. Sadly, those foods are neither filling nor healthy. So, while they will give you a temporary boost, they’ll also cause unpleasant effects on your body.
Hit the bed, people! You literally need it!
6. Drink enough water
You need water to survive, so it’s a definite plus when it can actually help you lose weight!
A study was performed with 173 overweight women who were tasked with drinking more than 1 liter of water a day. The study was held throughout the span of 12 months and results were taken at the end of the 2nd, 6th and 12th month.
When all the measurements were compared, the results were clear – the increased intake of water helped the women lose weight, lower their body fat percentage and also reduce their waist circumference. (source).
Now, this is clear, right? You drink water and you naturally want to eat less, because you’re fuller.
But there’s more to drinking water than that. An interesting study among healthy men and women found that drinking 500 ml of water or around 16 oz increases metabolic rate by 30%. (source) This means, your body uses up energy to process that extra water you just drank. Most of the energy burnt is actually spent to warm up the water from room temperature to your body’s temperature (so from 22C to 37C / or 71.6F to 98.6F). This basically means that you burn extra calories to basically drink water. The authors of the study calculated that over a period of one year, you drinking an extra 16oz/500ml of water daily can result in about an extra 17,400 kcal burned, which equates to 2.4 kg or 5 pounds of adipose tissue.
So, go refill your water bottle and drink!
7. let go of stressful Situations
Stress is one of the most dangerous things on the planet. Invisible, yet deadly, it’s the cause of numerous illnesses in people nowadays.
For many, it’s also responsible for weight gain. We’ve all heard of ‘stress-eating’, right? Well, it’s a very real thing, actually.
4,065 children aged from 11 to 16 were tested annually over a 5-year period. Depending on the different stress factors in their lives they were divided into 3 groups: high-stress, moderate-stress and low-stress.
Unsurprisingly, the children with the highest BMI, circumference and adiposity were the ones with high stress levels, followed by the second with the low-stress group in last place. (source)
Stress stimulates and activates the hypothalamo-piruitary-adrenal axis (or in short for actual humans, the HPA axis). This results in increased levels of cortisol, which in turn increases the consumption of high-fat and high-sugar foods. Furthermore, people with excess belly fat are shown to also have higher cortisol levels. To illustrate this even further, when those people lose the visceral belly fat, their cortisol levels also come back to normal. (source) This is how stress works on your belly fat.
Long story short. Don’t sweat it. Go out in nature, spend some time watching the sky, the birds, the mountains. It will help you tremendously. It will help to remind you that your problems, as scary as they are, aren’t THAT big. They aren’t everything, even if they hurt at the moment.
It’s important to try and distance yourself from stressful people or events. If you’re in a stress-inducing situation that is out of your control, let it go and let it resolve itself. If it’s something you can take action on – do yourself the favor and take that action.
Well, isn’t this a wonderful tip? As silly and simple as it sounds, you have to learn to lighten up and laugh more often. Don’t take things too seriously. Laughing is the best medicine, right? And it can certainly help you lose belly fat too!
Lots of people rely on food as emotional support, it’s not uncommon. In fact, enjoying a meal has an anxiety-reducing effect and that’s why many of us eat when we’re feeling sad, bored, stressed, or anxious (source).
While it’s not bad to have a snack from time to time, too many of them result in weight gain and the dreaded belly fat.
A better way to improve your mood is by laughing more and enjoying life more than enjoying food. That way, your brain will slowly start to recognize laughter as having the same mood-boosting effect as food. (source)
Of course, it’s gonna take some time, effort and focus to find things to laugh. But if you actively try to change your mindset and instead of gobbling down a chocolate and 3 huge cupcakes, watch some stand-up comedy or spend time with friends, you’ll see improvements.
9. Take breaks from sitting for too long
Many people have office jobs or work from home and both of those options include sitting for a large amount of hours during the day. Not only can this leave you feeling quite stiff and uncomfortable, but it can lead to easy weight gain and specifically fat gain in your abdominal area.
To combat this, studies suggest you should take short breaks at least once an hour. Even just standing can benefit you, but it is better to walk around a bit. (source)
These little interventions can improve your glucose levels and also keep you safe from cardiovascular diseases. (source)
10. Exercise (source)
And here it is. The other 20% to the fat loss formula. (80% being diet)
The golden child. Exercise. It’s pretty simple – the more you move and the more intensely you do it, the more energy your body will spend. And yes, some of that energy will come from those energy reserves – AKA the fat that you’re trying so hard to get rid of.
Here’s the thing with belly fat, though. You can’t really lose only the belly fat, you’ve got to lose fat from your whole body. And it will follow along. There’s no such thing as ‘spot targeting’ when it comes to pure fat burning.
When it comes to losing belly fat, HIIT exercises are great, but even just 30 minutes of walking a day or hiking can do wonders for your body.
So start where you are and challenge yourself! Gradually, you’ll be able to perform much more intense exercises for longer periods of time and more frequently throughout the week. Be careful not to hurt yourself and be consistent – you’ll start seeing results in no time.
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