A lot of people are beginning to see the need for them to get in better shape to improve their overall health. If you have begun to do this, you are up to a noble task. However, your weight-loss journey might become a struggle because of belly fat. Losing stomach fat is one of the biggest obstacles to achieving weight loss. That is why it is referred to as “stubborn fat”. No matter what you do, stomach fat sometimes seems not to budge much. How then do you tackle the belly fat problem? A stomach fat diet combined with healthy lifestyle changes may be the answer that you seek.
If you think weight loss goals and being in shape are the only reasons why you should lose belly fat, you are wrong. Belly fat is seriously harmful to your health. Belly fat is a type of visceral fat. This type of fat puts you at a higher risk for type II diabetes, metabolic disease, heart disease, and other health conditions. Even if your BMI index is normal, you are still at an increased risk if you still have excess body fat. You definitely should take steps to lose your excess belly fat.
How Do Most People Gain Belly Fat?
You may accumulate belly fat due to various reasons ranging from environmental to genetic factors. These factors are as follows:
1. A diet filled with processed and packaged foods
You are more likely to gain belly fat if you substitute fresh plant foods for processed and packaged foods in your diet. Processed and packaged foods are high-calorie foods, and as such contribute significantly to excess weight.
Examples of foods that may increase your belly fat include sugary drinks, sweets, and sweet snacks. Processed vegetable oils, sugary drinks, and all types of fast food also belong to this category.
2. Increased stress levels
One of the reasons why you may have an increased stress level is if you have a very busy schedule. The busier your schedule, the higher your stress level will be.
A busy schedule leaves little to no time or less time for healthy habits like sleep or exercise. Most times, you would be distracted while eating. Your rate of comfort eating and junk foods may also increase.
3. Genetic Factors
If either of your parents has belly fat, you have a higher risk of having it too. Furthermore, science has proven that the likelihood of obesity can be passed from mother to child during pregnancy.
This is sometimes referred to as the effects of “fetal and postnatal imprinting”. The environment, diet, and habits of a pregnant woman can have life-long consequences for the baby she’s carrying. It may increase the risks of obesity and chronic disease in the child.
4. Low level of physical activity
A sedentary lifestyle or a job that requires you to sit at the office table all day long increases your chances of having belly fat.
5. Hormonal Imbalance
Hormones like insulin play a major role in how well your body burns excess fat. If there is an imbalance in such hormones, you may gain excess weight in your midsection. Hormones like ghrelin and leptin that control food intake and appetite can also put you at a higher risk if there is an imbalance.
Stomach Fat Diet: What to Eat and What to Avoid
1. Consume soluble fiber generously
Soluble fiber promotes weight loss because it naturally controls your appetite, and makes you eat less quantity and less frequently. Soluble fibers also help to reduce belly fat by decreasing how much calories your body absorbs from food.
Experts say that each time you add 10 grams of soluble fiber to your diet; your belly fat gain will decrease by 3.7% over 5 years.
2. Eat foods rich in protein
Protein-rich foods can help you control weight gain. They increase your metabolic rate and decrease your appetite hormones. More so, they help you retain your muscle mass while you’re losing weight.
3. Use coconut oil for your cooking
Coconut oil contains medium-chained fatty acids. These fatty acids help to boost metabolism. This helps you to burn fat faster, and also reduces how much fats your body store as a result of high-calorie intake. Just two tablespoons of coconut oil daily will help you lose a significant amount of stomach fat.
4. Consume probiotic foods on a stomach fat diet
Probiotics have a lot of benefits, especially for gut health. In addition to this, they promote the growth of certain healthy bacteria that can help with weight regulation.
5. Cut down on carbs
You know already that reducing your carb intake is very important for weight-loss generally. Keep your carb consumption to less than 50 grams daily to get rid of belly fat.
6. Cut out Trans-fat from your diet
Trans-fat, found in soybean oil and packaged foods, contributes significantly to insulin resistance and excess belly fat. When you remove Trans-fats from your diet, as much as one-third of your belly fat will be shed off within 6 years.
7. Regulate your sugar intake
All types of sugar, especially refined sugars, fruit juices with added sugar, and sweetened beverages can lead to the accumulation of stomach fat. Substitute them for healthy options like real honey. But even that should be used carefully.
Tips on How to Live a Healthy Life
1. Cut back on alcohol
You may still drink your favorite alcohol, but make sure you don’t drink too much. Too much alcohol can make you gain more belly fat and compromise the health of your liver. Focus more on the amount of alcohol you drink daily, rather than how frequently you drink.
2. Don’t feed your body with toxic stuff
Apart from alcohol, there is a lot of toxic stuff that people put into their bodies. If you smoke, drink, or take hard drugs. You should stop. These things damage your health in the long run. Unhealthy eating, especially consuming foods filled with sugar additives and chemicals, is also bad for your health.
3. Find time to relax
Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone increases your appetite. So if your stress level is increased, you are likely to eat more. This can, in turn, lead to excess stomach fat. Cortisol can also cause anxiety, hypertension, and stroke.
Try to unwind regularly by engaging in enjoyable activities. More importantly, try to minimize stress by keeping a schedule that is not too busy.
4. Engage in Aerobic Exercise
Aerobic exercise, also known as “cardio” helps to burn calories and improves your health. Focus more on frequency than on intensity. Daily exercise of moderate intensity is good enough for weight loss, heart health, and general wellbeing.
5. Get enough restful sleep every night
Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. But then, apart from being sufficient, make sure that your sleep is restful by optimizing your bedroom environment and sleeping conditions.
Stomach fat diet tips will work better when you compliment them with a healthy lifestyle. Your diet and your lifestyle are the two giants that determine most of your health and wellbeing.