Abdominal fat or belly fat is generally caused by eating too much unhealthy food and not taking enough exercise.
So how easy is it to get rid of this excess fat?
And what are the best steps to take, to move towards a fitter and healthier you?
What is belly fat?
Belly fat is a type of fat known as visceral fat and is stored in your abdominal cavity, sharing space with important organs such as the liver, stomach, kidneys, and intestines.
Having high levels of visceral fat can be dangerous and has been linked to an increased risk of chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
How can I reduce belly fat in the long run?
Unlike other types of fats, you can reduce belly fat relatively quickly as it is buried deep inside the body.
However, the fat can come back just as quickly, if you return to your old habits.
The best way to lose belly fat is to make small but impactful changes to your overall diet and lifestyle.1
This way you can maintain your health, wellbeing and weight.
Eat healthier meals and control your portion sizes
Plan your meals wisely and control your portion size.
Make sure every meal is packed with fresh fruits and vegetables, alongside plenty of lean protein and healthy fats.
Choose soluble fibre foods
Stay clear of processed sugars and complex carbohydrates. Instead, try and include plenty of soluble fibre foods such as flax seeds, avocados, blackberries, and Brussels sprouts.
This is because soluble fibre absorbs water and forms a gel that helps slow down food as it passes through your digestive system.
It helps you feel fuller for longer, so you end up eating less and not snacking excessively.
Take 30 minutes of exercise five times a week
Combine this healthier eating with a regular exercise regime and you will successfully lose belly fat.
You should try to take part in at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, at least five days a week.
The key here is to do what interests you. So you might fancy a brisk walk to work up a sweat, breathe harder and quicken your heart rate. Or perhaps cycling to work rather than taking the car. Not everyone needs to rush to the gym.
By raising your heart rate for 30 minutes at least three times per week, you are effectively slowing down how much visceral fat you gain.
If going to the gym is not your thing, then have a look at some alternative ways of keeping fit and healthy.
What is the best way to lose belly fat?
If you are serious about losing belly fat fast, then you need to know the exercises that will help you burn your belly fat more quickly.
Your focus should be on increasing your physical activity which in turn will build muscle that will dramatically reduce belly fat.2
Exercises to lose belly fat
Go for high-intensity cardio training that will consume energy and increase your metabolic rate after exercise.3
Balance these workouts with about 20 minutes of weightlifting training and focus on compound moves such as deadlifts, squats, kettlebell swings, lunges, chest presses and shoulder presses.
These exercises work your entire body rather than isolating muscles, which means you are likely to burn belly fat quicker.
For best results, split your sessions over different days and combine fewer intensive sessions like swimming or jogging in between the more vigorous training.
From a diet perspective, if you want to lose stomach fat fast, stick to foods with the least number of calories, such as green salads and soups for example.
For more about how to lose belly fat fast, read our guide about the best fat burners.
Can you have stomach fat if you are thin?
Yes! Even if you are thin, you can still have too much visceral fat.
How much you have is partly down to genetics and partly about your lifestyle – especially how active you are.
Other factors that can cause belly fat are:
- regular alcohol consumption
- bad posture
- a lack of sleep
- a recent pregnancy
How do I measure belly fat?
The best way of finding out if you have belly fat is to measure your stomach.4
Simply stand and place a tape measure around your bare stomach, just above your hipbone. Pull the tape measure until it fits snugly around you but does not push into your skin.
Make sure the tape measure is level all the way around. Relax, exhale, and measure your waist, resisting the urge to suck in your stomach!
For women, a waist measurement of more than 35 inches (89 centimetres) indicates an unhealthy belly fat and a greater risk of health problems. For men, this number is 40 inches.5
Last updated: 19 October 2020