Stubborn belly fat can be a source of affliction to one’s self-esteem and self-confidence. In this blog post, I’ll give you practical and sustainable tips to lose belly fat for good in the new year. First, I must preface this blog with a couple disclaimers.
1) There is no one magic pill, weight loss program, or diet that will ensure you lose stubborn belly fat for good. It will simply be the action of consistency and effort to any form of a balanced diet and workout program that will get you results in addition to the maintenance of these habits that will ensure you get rid of belly fat for good.
2) You are not defined by how your body fat is distributed on your body. If losing fat will help to increase your self-esteem and self-confidence, by all means, pursue it! If not, simply consider the advice from this post and take from it what you wish. Your body is yours to live in and no one should feel they have the authority to tell you what to do with it.
The most important component of a fat loss program is maintaining good nutrition. As discussed in my previous blog post, good nutrition simply means including all macro/micronutrients into your diet to keep a balanced diet, focusing on increasing your protein intake to build and/or maintain muscle mass, and drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated. You cannot target body fat to be metabolized from one area of the body, so putting yourself in a general caloric deficit will be the only way to reduce total body fat and thus belly fat. Being in a caloric deficit simply means consuming less calories than you expend either at the end of every day or in summation at the end of the week. This process is very individualized and can include counting calories if you wish to take on that challenge. My warning to those interested in calorie counting is to make sure you do so with your own psychological health in mind. From experience, I know that calorie counting can become extremely obsessive which is not ideal for someone wishing to live a balanced, healthy lifestyle. Fat loss takes months, sometimes years, to obtain and a lifetime to maintain so keep that in mind when choosing whether to count calories or not.
Another option to consider to place yourself in a caloric deficit is to manage food portion sizes. This allows a more lenient approach to tracking your intake and can be more sustainable for someone looking to lose body fat and maintain fat loss. Remember that sustainable fat loss can take months, or years, to achieve and a lifetime to maintain so avoid rigorous caloric deficits that will create a massive drop in your metabolic rate. Doing so will only set you up for failure in the future because once your diet is over, it will be much harder to consume more calories without gaining back the fat lost during your extreme deficit. Our bodies work to maintain a balance and this applies to fat loss as well. Keep fat loss to a maximum of approximately 1-2% of your body weight each week to ensure that your metabolism doesn’t plummet along the way and that fat loss is easier to maintain once you reach your goal.
#2 Strength Training
Strength training is a great way to assist your body in reducing body fat as it helps to place your body in an overall caloric deficit (during and after strength training sessions) and it helps to maintain and/or build muscle mass which slightly increases your metabolic rate. Maintaining and building muscle mass is a calorically-expensive process for the body to endure. Increasing your protein intake while in a deficit will ensure that most of your weight lost won’t be from muscle mass. In a deficit, some of the weight lost will be in the form of muscle mass, however, increasing your protein intake to approximately 1-2g of protein per kilogram of body weight will help to maintain your muscle mass and thus maintain your metabolic rate while in a caloric deficit.
Adding strength training to your routine will also help shape your body according to what muscles you train during your program. In this previous blog, I write about how to develop an hourglass physique with nutrition, strength training, and recovery techniques.
Adding cardio to your program will not only help improve your heart health, but will also help increase your caloric expenditure while in a caloric deficit. Technically, this addition is not necessary to aid in fat loss as a caloric deficit and strength training alone are enough to reduce body fat, however, cardio is incredibly important for longevity and heart health. It’s recommended to find a form of cardio you enjoy and add it to your routine at a rate in which you can handle and maintain overtime. I personally enjoy adding in martial arts training, jump roping, and dancing into my routine as these are forms of cardio I enjoy and can continue for the rest of my life. Simply going for walks in the neighborhood is enough to help with fat loss and clear your mind of the stresses of the day. Ultimately, it is important to find forms of cardio training you enjoy so that it is easy to stick to long term.
Getting rid of stubborn belly fat can only be accomplished through a caloric deficit, however, there are so many other important factors to consider when taking on a fat loss journey. Consider how sustainable your program is, whether or not you enjoy the habits you are forming on your program, and even why you wish to lose fat to begin with. While losing belly fat can aid in increasing your self-esteem and self-confidence, simply adding these habits without intentionally trying to lose weight will also provide health and fitness benefits. Ultimately, your health and fitness journey is solely dictated by you, so find a form of movement and balanced nutrition you enjoy and the results will eventually manifest.
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