One of the major struggles for my clients who are trying to lose weight, is almost always fat on the belly.
The problem is, spot reduction does not work. What this means is you can’t just point at your belly, exercise and diet, and expect to get a flat stomach.
Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. However there are ways to lose weight overall and lose belly fat as a result.
The key to lose belly fat comes down to getting lean all over. There is no diet or ab exercise workout that will spot reduce the fat in your midsection. But it’s not hopeless – you can get lean and slim with a whole food, plant-based diet and moderate exercise.
Diet to Lose Belly Fat
When it comes to uncovering a flat stomach, diet is 90% of the battle. We’ll cover exercise later, but first let’s discuss how you need to modify your diet to lose belly fat.
A healthy plant-based diet includes generous portions of whole grains, rice, beans, and nuts in addition to lots of fruits and vegetables. In order to reduce belly fat, you will need to be vigilant about the quantity and type of grains that you consume.
More of your calories need to come from vegetables and fewer from grains. Grains like white processed flour, and even whole grain bread, should be eliminated. Brown rice and steel cut oatmeal are acceptable in moderate quantities.
The science behind this is to consume only foods that have a low glycemic index. These foods will not spike your blood sugar levels. High blood sugar causes you to store fat. The fiber in vegetables will also help moderate blood sugar levels, so copious amounts of vegetables are a good way to lose belly fat.
Healthy fats are also important. A handful of walnuts, almonds, or a few macadamia nuts will satisfy your hunger and stoke the fat burning process. Use small amounts of extra virgin olive oil on salads. Mix some fresh avocado into salads and dips. Use hummus as a spread and condiment.
Meal spacing is critical as well. You can’t consume too many calories at one sitting, no matter what they are, and expect to get lean. Spread out your meals and snacks throughout the day. Eat fruit in the morning, and mostly vegetables later in the day.
Exercise to Lose Belly Fat
How to lose belly fat with exercise? One word: intensity. Low intensity cardio is great for your heart, but it won’t give you a flat stomach. You need to include bursts of high intensity cardio and weight training to achieve 6 pack abs.
It’s not about longer workouts. You can get results with 20 minutes of vigorous weight training. The best fat burning workout is alternating a lower body exercise like squats with an upper body exercise like bench pressing with no rest between sets.
If you are new to weight training it’s best to hire a personal trainer to design a workout. He or she should spend considerable time demonstrating correct form in order to maximize results and prevent injury.