Have you ever wondered if you could lose belly fat only? Well, you’re not the only one. Find out the biggest myth debunked!
Belly fat is famed for its troubles. Besides the physical discomfort it causes, it is also a long-term threat to your health.
The stomach protrudes and no matter what you do sometimes, it refuses to flatten as a washboard.
At some point, you might have registered for a weight-loss programme, tried several weight-loss diets, visited the gym or even started a workout routine using YouTube as your guide, but had to give up within weeks as that belly fat did not show signs of going away.
The frustration drives you to Google, and you discover the golden secret that fat comes from food.
Your thoughts: “If I stop eating and starve myself, this fat would go away.”
Do not starve yourself
Food is key to your survival. Food supplies your body with the energy and nutrients it needs to function. Starving yourself means you deprive your body of the energy and nutrients it needs to perform. It is like robbing Peter to pay Paul.
And not just that.
When you starve yourself, your body goes into starvation mode just like in the caveman survival days. And instead of your using energy to burn fat, your body senses there is scarcity, and it slows down your metabolism and preserves fat.
Thirdly, your body processes the meal eaten during starvation differently. Since your metabolism slows down because of starvation, your body stores the food as fat instead of using it. So you end up storing and gaining more weight.
Why stomach fat is difficult to get rid of
Food is the fuel of the body. When you eat, your body converts it for energy, and the excess is stored as fat. These fats are burned through a process called Lipolysis.
Body fats have two types of cells — Alpha and Beta cells.
Alpha cells speed up the fat burning process while the beta cells react slower to the fat-burning process.
Different parts of the body have a different amount of each of these cells — with some having higher alpha cells while some have higher beta cells. When losing weight, you would easily notice changes in your arms, legs, and face. These places have more alpha cells. But areas like your hips, thighs and belly have more beta cells, therefore making it much more difficult to lose weight.
What to do instead
Burning stomach fat is like burning fat from another body part. The only difference is that belly fat has more deposit of beta cells and it takes an average of 12 weeks to burn them. This means you can’t rush yourself into losing belly fat. You have to take a long-term approach to little tweaks.
Begin by reducing your food portion and spreading your meals through the day. It is more difficult to break down a heavy meal loaded with calories eaten at a sitting; instead, eat smaller portions spread through the whole day. This keeps your metabolism working and limits the addition of calories you don’t need.
Cut carbs and replace with protein. Unlike carbs that have high-calorie content and spike your body store of fat, protein is very helpful for weight management. People who eat more protein have less abdominal fat because protein raises your metabolism and the fibre in it fills you for a longer time. So reduce your carbs consumption and replace with healthy options like protein, whole grains and vegetables.
Excessive alcohol and sugar-sweetened drinks consumption is a driver of belly fat. Even though a small amount of alcohol and sugar can benefit the body, it is advised that you stay off or reduce its consumption to avoid adding to your waistline and abdominal region.
Track your food intake and aim to consume fewer calories than your body needs. The formula for weight loss is to create a calorie deficit. That is, you use more energy than you consume. If you do this well enough, you will reduce your body fat.
Lastly, almost all health solutions can’t be completed without naming the magic pill — Exercise. It is the same for burning your stomach fat. Workout daily, do aerobic exercises and mix up your exercises between mid-intensity and high intensity for faster results.
In addition to exercise, try to increase your daily physical activities.
Healthy weight maintenance is a lifelong journey dependent on your lifestyle. There is no magic to it than making consistent changes.
However, if you can successfully implement the changes suggested in the article above — Belly fat will be a distant dream.