Many women start gaining more weight in their belly as they age, especially after menopause. The body fat distribution changes — less fat goes to your arms, legs and hips, and more goes to your midsection. Some people even find their waistline widening while their weight remains the same. Nonetheless, the below steps will help to do away with belly fat.
Jump-Starting Your Metabolism
Eat breakfast. It might seem counterproductive to eat if you’re trying to lose weight, but studies show that eating breakfast within an hour of waking up keeps your insulin levels steadier and your LDL cholesterol levels lower.
Eat breakfast around the same time each day. If you tend to sleep in on weekends, eat as soon as you wake up. Consider including protein and high-fiber foods (eggs, peanut butter, fresh fruit and vegetables) for breakfast — they take longer to process than refined sugars and complex carbs so you’ll feel full throughout the morning.
Avoid making sugary cereals, waffles, pancakes, French toast, breakfast pastries or instant oatmeal the sole focus of your breakfast. If you must splurge and eat something with refined sugars, balance it with protein or fiber.
Decompress. Research indicates that the secretion of cortisol (a hormone your body produces during times of stress) is correlated with an increase in belly fat. Some strategies for combating everyday stress:
Enough sleep. Most adults need at least 7 hours of sleep every night to function properly. Set aside time to relax. Even if it’s only 15 minutes on your lunch break, find time to simply close your eyes, breathe deeply, and forget your worries. Keep your stressors away from your sleeping area. If possible, don’t work or do anything stressful in the bedroom. That the area should be reserved for rest/relaxation, and resolve to leave your worries behind as soon as you step into that room.
Aim to take 10,000 steps a day. In one study where men reduced their daily steps from about 10,000 to less than 1,500 (without changing their diet), their visceral (belly) fat increased by 7% after just 2 weeks.
Get a pedometer and try to increase the number of daily steps you take. Take stairs instead of elevators; walk instead of driving. Stand up and walk for 30 steps every 30 minutes. If you have a sedentary job, consider getting a treadmill desk.
Switch out refined grains for whole grains. In a scientific study, people who ate all whole grains (in addition to five servings of fruits and vegetables, three servings of low-fat dairy, and two servings of lean meat, fish, or poultry) lost more belly fat than another group that ate the same diet, but with all refined grains.
Grains melt fat. A diet rich in whole grains changes the glucose and insulin response in your body to hasten the melting of fat, and visceral fat, that deep layer of fat, is easier for your body to burn than the subcutaneous fat under your skin (the fat that can be seen and grabbed). Avoid white grains. For instance, eat brown wheat bread instead of over-processed white bread, and favor wild brown rice over white rice.
Drink plenty of water. Studies suggest that consistently drinking water throughout the day can lead to a more active metabolism, regardless of dieting. Drinking more water also helps your body flush out waste/toxins and improves your overall health. Aim to drink an 8-oz. glass of water 8 times per day, or 64 ounces total.
Carry a water bottle so that you can drink whenever you feel thirsty. Know how to tell when you’re sufficiently hydrated. You’ll know you’re drinking enough water when your urine runs almost clear. If it’s still yellow, drink up. Significantly reduce alcohol, sugary drinks (like Coke, 7-Up, Pepsi and all the diet drinks), and carbonated beverages.
Limit Alcohol Consumption. To lose your belly fat, what you drink is as important as what you eat. Alcohol from time to time is OK. But forget about losing your belly fat if you drink beer & sweet alcohols daily. Alcohol also stresses your liver which has to overwork to clear the toxins. This can get in the way of building muscles. Drink alcohol 10% of the time. Example Friday & Saturday night. Normal alcohol consumption, not the get drunk. Rest of the time: water, water with squeezed lemon, green tea, etc. Either that or forget about losing your belly fat.
Stay Motivated. Looking at your belly or in the mirror gives you inaccurate feedback. What you see is influenced by food intake, water retention, light and your own perception. Self-image issues can make the last one tricky.