One easy way to find out if you’re carrying too much abdominal fat is to wrap a measuring tape around your body at the top of your hipbones. If your number is more than 35 inches, it may be time to take action. The good news: Getting rid of belly fat is simpler than you might think. With the right plan, it’s actually easier to lose than stubborn lower-body fat or the seemingly impossible to tone back-of-the-arm flab. Stick to these diet and exercise guidelines, and you’ll be slimmer — and healthier — by summer.
Oats are high in fiber, which means stomach is fuller for longer, reducing appetite and thereby decreasing calorie intake help. Furthermore, oats are easy to digest, particularly if soaked overnight, which helps reduce bloating. Oats are relatively high in protein and rich in B Vitamins and minerals. Just add cinnamon for extra effect. A Scandinavian study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that 3 grams of cinnamon sprinkled over cereal resulted in less insulin being produced after eating. Since insulin is a hormone that turns excess sugar into fat, decreased insulin levels also means less weight gain. What’s more, cinnamon is also thought to slow down stomach emptying, which means you feel fuller for longer.
Monounsaturated fats, or more simply MUFA, may help you lose belly fat. Research suggests that a diet rich in MUFA may be more effective than a carbohydrate rich diet in burning belly fat. While a carbohydrate rich diet appears to increase belly fat, there is evidence that a MUFA-rich diet helps get rid of belly fat – even in the absence of exercise. A study published in the journal Diabetes Care showed that participants who ate a diet rich in monounsaturated fats lost more stomach fat than those participants who consumed the same amount of calories but less of the healthy fats. A study published in the journal Diabetes Care showed that participants who ate a diet rich in monounsaturated fats lost more stomach fat than those participants who consumed the same amount of calories but less of the healthy fats. Not only does it help burn belly fat, but MUFA also help control satiety, reduces risk of diabetes and confers cardiovascular benefits. Therefore, including MUFA in your 5 daily meals and snacks will help you stick to your calorie controlled diet to lose belly fat. Include one serving of MUFA at every meal.
Continuing weight loss may deteriorate into wasting, a vaguely defined condition called cachexia.[31] Cachexia differs from starvation in part because it involves a systemic inflammatory response.[31] It is associated with poorer outcomes.[26][31][32] In the advanced stages of progressive disease, metabolism can change so that they lose weight even when they are getting what is normally regarded as adequate nutrition and the body cannot compensate. This leads to a condition called anorexia cachexia syndrome (ACS) and additional nutrition or supplementation is unlikely to help.[28] Symptoms of weight loss from ACS include severe weight loss from muscle rather than body fat, loss of appetite and feeling full after eating small amounts, nausea, anemia, weakness and fatigue.[28]
There are two types of fat: the subcutaneous, or “pinchable,” kind that collects just under the skin—and, unless you’re obese, poses no health threat—and visceral fat, which develops deep inside the abdomen. “Visceral fat appears to be metabolically more active than fat that settles elsewhere,” says Pamela Peeke, M.D., an assistant clinical professor of medicine at the University of Maryland and author of Fit to Live: The 5-Point Plan to Be Lean, Strong, & Fearless for Life (Rodale Books, 2007). This visceral fat—belly fat, in plain English—interferes with liver function. In particular, it hampers the processing of cholesterol and insulin—and may also compromise the function of other tissues and systems. In December a study conducted at the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam found links between belly fat and capillary inflammation (a contributor to heart disease) and between belly fat and insulin resistance (a precursor to diabetes).
The menstrual cycle itself doesn’t seem to affect weight gain or loss. But having a period may affect your weight in other ways. Many women get premenstrual syndrome (PMS). PMS can cause you to crave and eat more sweet or salty foods than normal.4 Those extra calories can lead to weight gain. And salt makes the body hold on to more water, which raises body weight (but not fat).
Stop treating your kitchen like an all-night diner and you’ll stop seeing those unwanted pounds piling onto your frame, too. The results of a study published in Cell Metabolism found that mice who only had access to food during an eight-hour period stayed slim over the course of the study, while those who ate the same number of calories over a 16-hour period gained significantly more weight, particularly around their middle. When you’re finished with dinner at night, shut the fridge and don’t look back until morning — your belly will thank you. When you do head back to the kitchen in the A.M., make sure the 40 Things Healthy Cooks Always Have in Their Kitchen are there waiting for you.

Certain carbohydrates have a tendency to be poorly absorbed in your intestines and then rapidly fermented, leading to gas and bloating. Common culprits include refined carbohydrates and simple sugars—like those found in processed foods with added sugars. Excess sodium can also cause bloating due to increased water retention. Opt for freshly prepared foods and reduce processed, packaged foods to cut back on belly bloaters. In the morning, swap your sugar-laden bowl of cereal for this Green Smoothie, made with fresh fruits and vegetables to get your day started the right way.

If you are a vegan and cannot have fish to get your day’s dose of omega 3 fatty acids, you can eat chia seeds that are equally high on omega-3 and are a best plant-based source of omega 3 acids. However, your body needs to work a little to convert the alpha-linolenic acid in these seeds into DHA or EPA that directly comes from fish oil. Apart from omega 3 acids, chia seeds are a good source of antioxidants, calcium, iron and dietary fiber which helps you feel fuller for longer. The diet book, ‘The Aztec Diet’ suggests having 4-8 tbsp (1-2 oz or 30-60 g) of chia seeds during a day to keep you less hungry and prevent you from overeating. However, 1 tablespoon of chia seeds to is a good amount to include in your daily diet
Hot peppers contain capsaicin which has thermogenic effects. It boosts your body’s heat production and thus uses more energy or calorie. A study published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” says that when capsinoids are consumed daily, it reduces abdominal fat and improves fat oxidation. So spice up your foods with hot peppers to lose belly fat. Eat peppers raw, cooked, dried, or in powdered form. Red peppers contain different amounts of capsaicin, making some peppers hotter than others. Habanero pepper has the highest amount of capsaicin but cayenne pepper too can be a good choice. Although not as hot, cayenne pepper do have a significant amount of capsaicin which can increase fat burning and lead to your belly fat loss. Don’t be shy to add as much cayenne or hot sauce as you can to your soups, eggs, gravies and meats.
"When going out for fast food, I used to get the large-size value meal. Now, I satisfy a craving by ordering just one item: a small order of fries or a six-piece box of chicken nuggets. So far, I've shaved off 16 pounds in seven weeks, and I'm on track to being thinner than my high school self for my 10-year reunion later this year." —Miranda Jarrell, Birmingham, AL

Schedule a workout with a friend—you'll be less likely to skip out on it knowing that she is expecting you to show up. Or, use your workouts as "dates" where you can catch up with friends. "Every Wednesday, I take a Zumba class with the friends I met at Weight Watchers," says Michele August, who lost 117 pounds. "It's our weekly girls' night. We catch up, bond, and even enjoy a fun workout that burns a bunch of calories!" 
A 2012 study in the Journal of Functional Foods found that people who drank one and a half cups of green tea enriched with a total of 609 milligrams of catechins (a group of antioxidants that have been shown to help burn fat cells) every day for 12 weeks lost almost 16 times as much visceral fat as those who consumed green tea without the added antioxidants. To achieve similar results with store-bought green tea, you’ll need to brew two to four cups daily (many varieties can contain 160 to 470 milligrams of catechins per cup).
“That first day was so tough, I almost caved and reached for the vending machine at work but I remembered a quote I had on my Facebook page that said ‘The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can't achieve it’ and that was enough to make me turn away from the machine,” she says.
You’ve heard of a self-fulfilling prophecy? If you keep focusing on things you can’t do, like resisting junk food or getting out the door for a daily walk, chances are you won’t do them. Instead (whether you believe it or not) repeat positive thoughts to yourself. “I can lose weight.” “I will get out for my walk today.” “I know I can resist the pastry cart after dinner.” Repeat these phrases and before too long, they will become true for you.
Want to know how to lose belly fat? For improved fat loss efforts, it’s time to introduce your body to intermittent fasting, which is best approached as a shift in lifestyle and eating patterns, not a diet. There’s no need to count calories or measure grams. Simply focus on extending the duration of time between eating the healthy foods you already eat, with a particular emphasis on healthy fats and proteins.

Think you’re off the hook if you’re not overweight? Think again! Even if your BMI is normal, some studies still suggest that holding excess weight around your midsection can be problematic, especially as we age. An evaluation of over 100,000 men and women aged 50 and over showed that regardless of BMI, an elevated waist circumference was associated with a higher risk of death in older adults.

Many diet plans rely on meal-replacement shakes, bars or other snack type foods, while others rely on frozen entrees as a major part of your diet, like Medifast and Nutrisystem. Ask yourself if you want the bulk of your diet relying on prepackaged snacks, shakes or frozen meals, or if you prefer the flexibility of cooking your own meals or eating out frequently.
And at the gym, that difference just gets exacerbated. Women, worried about bulking up, tend to lift lighter weights and focus more on cardiovascular fitness, while men tend to gravitate toward the kind of heavy lifting that boosts muscle composition and metabolic rate, says Jim White, a Virginia Beach-based nutrition expert and certified personal trainer.
If you don't have access to the gym, there are other exercises that can help trim your tummy and many of them can be done at home. "Plank exercises are an effective way to strengthen all of the muscles in your core, "says football trainer Brian Martin, CSCS. Martin has trained numerous pro players and says that "the plank works dozens of muscles all at once. It is a much more complete exercise then abdominal crunches or situp."
A review article published in the Journal of Obesity in 2011 notes that while there is some evidence for chitosan, Irvingia gabonensis, conjugated linoleic acid and pyruvate, there isn't yet enough evidence to say for sure that they're helpful for weight loss. The article notes that Garcinia cambogia and chia seeds don't appear to show promise as fat burners. The 2011 Obesity Reviews article notes that evidence is also lacking for the use of forskolin, fucoxanthin, kelp and chromium for weight loss.

Why does this popular plan work? For one thing, it pushes wildly healthy staples to the forefront (think: nuts, vegetables, fruit, olive oil). For another, it's simply delicious, thanks to it's focus on fresh, simply prepared dishes like grilled fish with lemon and whole wheat pita with hummus. Science agrees: One meta-review of 16 studies, found the eating M.O. helped those on it lose an average of 8.5 pounds.
I’m just wondering, how can you say these are the best approaches when they’re fad diets? Slim fast may work for someone looking to lose a few pounds, but if you’re looking to lose 50-100+ lbs., no one is going to be able to survive on substituting a meal for a shake. A good “diet” should put a large focus on learning how to eat properly, which includes ALL food groups, and exercising regularly.
Losing weight on autopilot is appealing. But in the age of meal-delivery services (Blue Apron happens to be Whole 30-approved) — is there really a market need for gimmicky Nutrisystem? Our taste buds tell us no. You could easily recreate its no-prep diet by stocking up on breakfast bars, Lean Cuisine lunches, and signing up with the likes of HelloFresh for fast, healthy dinners. (Rough calculations tell us this approach would be equal or less than the monthly price of Nutrisystem.)

Tapsell, L. C., Dunning, A., Warensjo, E., Lyons-Wall, P., & Dehlsen, K. (2014). Effects of vegetable consumption on weight loss: A review of the evidence with implications for design of randomized controlled trials [Abstract]. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 54(12), 1529–1538. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24580555


When you're at your heaviest, it can be intimidating to step into a gym and begin running or lifting among the spandex-clad. Working out in your own space is also simply easier to schedule—you can lift weights while the baby naps or first thing in the morning without dragging yourself out the door. "I bought an exercise bike so I can work out whenever I want," says Sarah DeArmond, who lost 100 pounds.
Weight loss once again came in first place for New Year’s Resolutions, sharing its spot with “becoming a better person.” For a lot of us, becoming a better person starts with feeling better about ourselves. The start of a new year may be primetime to renew dedication to health and happiness, but periodic sprints of weight loss do not equate to wellness. That’s why the best diet is the one you can sustain for the rest of your life.
Weight loss once again came in first place for New Year’s Resolutions, sharing its spot with “becoming a better person.” For a lot of us, becoming a better person starts with feeling better about ourselves. The start of a new year may be primetime to renew dedication to health and happiness, but periodic sprints of weight loss do not equate to wellness. That’s why the best diet is the one you can sustain for the rest of your life.

This could be because the body increases insulin secretion in anticipation that sugar will appear in the blood. When this doesn’t happen, blood sugar drops and hunger increases. Whether this chain of events regularly takes place is somewhat unclear. Something odd happened when I tested Pepsi Max though, and there are well-designed studies showing increased insulin when using artificial sweeteners.
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