5 ways to rapidly lose belly weight

Belly weight is more than making your clothes feel tight. It can be seriously harmful.

A type of belly fat, called “visceral fat”, carries a significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other conditions [1]. Numerous health organisations utilise the BMI (body mass index) to categorise weight and anticipate metabolic disease risk. However, this can get tricky because individuals with excess belly fat are at higher risk, even if they appear slim [2].

Although shedding fat from this area can be difficult, there are several things you can do to reduce excess abdominal fat.

What exactly is belly weight?

Not all belly fat can be described the same. The fat that’s merely beneath the skin, subcutaneous fat, is what causes that bulge over your waistband. 

You may not like how it appears, but it’s less hazardous than visceral fat, which resides deep in the abdominal area and is linked with heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Visceral fat is metabolically active and secretes various hormones more than other types because of its location close to the portal vein. In this central vein, every thing that passes through our intestines is consume, which makes it have a significant effect on our metabolism.

People with more elevated visceral fat levels are more likely to suffer from varied conditions, including high blood pressure and colorectal cancer [3]. Abdominal fat can dischare more inflammatory cytokines into the bloodstream, so if a person with more visceral fat were to have a stroke or heart attack, more damage could happen. In a pro-inflammatory state, there’s also a bigger chance for a blood clot to develop due to a minor injury, advancing the risk of blood clots and strokes.

Photograph; Towfiqu Barbhuiya/Pexels

Is there such a thing as healthy belly weight?

Fat is a standard body part, but how much is too much? Visceral fat is tough to detect because you can’t see it. 

If you pinch your abdomen, it’s the subcutaneous fat you feel. That said, there is a correlation between waist girth and visceral fat. 

Measuring your waist is an easy, at-home way to define if you have too much visceral fat. Pull a tape measure above your hip bones and level with your belly button, don’t forget to breathe naturally, ensuring that you’re not holding your breath. 

A useful rule of thumb is that men should have a waist circumference of fewer than 40 inches. On the other hand, women should measure less than 35 inches. For Asian Americans, men should strive for less than 35.5 inches and women less than 31.5 inches.

It’s likely to have too much visceral fat without a bigger waist circumference, which can be seen through bloodwork. Mild liver enzyme irregularities, insulin resistance and high triglyceride levels signal that an individual has excessive metabolically active fat in their body, which is generally seen in their abdomen.

5 ways to rapidly lose belly weight

Now, here are five tips you can try to banish that unwanted belly weight:

Quit midnight snacking: who hasn’t encountered a snack to taste better in the late hours of the night compared to after the sun comes up? Nevertheless, it might be wiser to close your eating window as early in the day as feasible.

A study has shown that eating according to your body clock and natural circadian rhythms helps reduce fat storage. Eating earlier in the day – when your body is much better at processing food will assist having control of your weight.

If you adjust your calorie intake to later in the day, it will be difficult for you to prevent weight gain. This is due to a hormonal response related to insulin, which better clears glucose from the blood earlier in the day. Try your best to shut down any snacking after dinner.

Carefully mind your carb intake: while dietary fat has gotten a bad reputation over the years, carbohydrates may be the culprit of a growing waistline. There’s a general misunderstanding among people with cholesterol problems that it’s simply through fat consumption.

Overconsuming carbohydrates and processed foods are the primary contributor to abdominal fat accumulation. You don’t have to follow a low-carb eating style, but reducing your consumption of simple carbs, such as fruit juice and cookies, is a good idea.

Instead, look for carbohydrates containing fibre like beans, legumes, vegetables and whole grains. Try to consume at minimum of 25 to 30 grams of fibre a day.

You may also want to explore with your starch intake. There are individuals who can handle potatoes, oats, rice and whole wheat bread – and some do not.

Starch can be like fuel to drive insulin resistance. When your body doesn’t answer well to insulin, this can lead to pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Load up on protein: including lean protein in your meal each time you eat helps you feel full. Seek to consume at least 20 to 30 grams of protein with each meal and 10 grams with each snack.

People who get enough protein feel satisfied, and they’re not looking for all the refined carbohydrates like chips, cookies, cake, candies or foods that have trans fats like the pastries you’d buy at a bakery or French fries.

Focus on getting good quality sleep: just as a bad night’s sleep can ruin your whole day, a track record of lousy sleep can mess with many other aspects of your life, and one of those might be belly fat. A study on sleep found that logging less than five hours of sleep a night is associated with a significant increase in visceral and subcutaneous fat accumulation among adults younger than 40.

Poor sleep has been connected to the accumulation of body fat, as well as insulin resistance. Stress reduction and better sleep hygiene can help with fat loss.

Engage in strength training and cardio: exercise is a critical component of weight loss and belly weight reduction. A variety of aerobic activities and resistance training will benefit you most.

Research still continues about the optimal intensity and duration of exercise. Still, a good starting point is to follow the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. Think fast walking and mellow bike rides) or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise (like playing basketball and running) a week, along with at least two days of muscle-strengthening activities.

Best exercise to remove belly weight

If your ultimate goal is reducing overall body fat, including belly fat, these aerobic exercises increase your heart rate (walking, running or swimming) and aerobic exercise combined with strength training are the gold standards for activities that support weight loss [4]. Thankfully, there are lots of options when it comes to incorporating cardio into your workout regimen, including:

  • Biking
  • Jogging or running
  • Jumping rope
  • Playing sports that require systematic movements, such as tennis or soccer
  • Rowing
  • Swimming
  • Using an elliptical machine
  • Walking

If you want to develop lean muscle mass in addition to losing fat mass, adding strength training, specifically resistance training to your cardio workouts can be particularly effective. Larger waistlines are linked to a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Losing weight, especially belly fat, improves blood vessel functioning and sleep quality [5]. 

It’s good to remind yourself that there are no magic solutions to losing belly weight. Weight loss consistently requires effort, commitment and perseverance.

[1] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1038/oby.2006.277/abstract
[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26551006
[3] https://www.forbes.com/health/healthy-aging/how-to-lower-blood-pressure/
[4] https://www.forbes.com/health/body/how-to-lose-belly-fat/
[5] https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/8-ways-to-lose-belly-fat-and-live-a-healthier-life

Photograph: Kindel Media/Pexels

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The information included in this article is for informational purposes only. The purpose of this webpage is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.