How To Lose Belly Fat Fast

Belly fat. Middle-age spread. Spare tire. Beer bulge. Love handles. It goes by many names, but one thing is certain… the fat concentrated around the abdominal area is the worst kind to have. Excess abdominal fat is not only unsightly, but it can also cause serious health problems including high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. The bigger the gut, the greater the risk.

woman with love handles Belly fat, unlike the surface fat around the buttocks and thighs, settles deep within the body. Known as “visceral fat”, it can be notoriously stubborn to shift. So what’s the best way to lose belly fat fast? While there are no overnight fixes, the good news is that visceral fat is very responsive to the right types of exercise and foods – and a couple of other things that might surprise you.

Here are five of the best ways to lose belly fat fast, and keep it off:

1. Cut Calories

Many of us mistakenly believe that crash diets are the best way to quickly lose those love handles. But a sudden and drastic calorie reduction results in unwanted loss of muscle mass – not fat. Instead, reduce calories gradually until you’re eating around 1600 for women, 2000 for men.

You also need to eat the right foods, and ditch the wrong ones. Eliminate processed foods high in fat, salt and sugar, and eat more lean meat and fish, fiber, grains, fruits and vegetables. Avoid “bad” saturated fats from animal sources that stick to your middle like glue. Replace with “good” polyunsaturated fats like olive oil that can actually help break down stubborn belly fat.

 2. Exercise

The exercises most commonly associated with a flat stomach are sit-ups and crunches. But “spot reduction” exercises alone aren’t enough to shift that deep visceral fat.

Moderate and consistent aerobic exercise is what’s needed: brisk walking, jogging or any kind of physical activity that raises your heart rate and makes you sweat, for at least 30 minutes per day. Add strength or resistance training to rev-up results.

 3. Stress Less

Stress can cause a surge in the hunger-stimulating hormone Cortisol. When Cortisol levels are high, not only do our appetites increase – but so does fat production, which shows up first (you guessed it) in the belly area.

Meditation, massage, long baths and relaxation exercises can help manage everyday stress levels. Easier than sit-ups, and equally (if not more) beneficial.

 4. Sleep More

Losing belly fat while you sleep might sound whacky but lack of rest is another factor that can cause an increase in Cortisol levels. Tiredness also inhibits the production of insulin – which can interfere with your body’s ability to burn extra calories. Aim for 6-8 hours of sleep every night to lose while you snooze.

 5. Reduce Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol is high in calories and carbohydrates, slows down the metabolism, causes dehydration, interrupts sleep patterns and raises the Cortisol level. No wonder they call it a beer belly! Reduce your alcohol consumption to a glass of wine once or twice a week. And if you’re really serious about losing belly fat, eliminate it altogether.

Follow these five tips for a month and watch the ab flab disappear. And don’t forget to track your results: you’ll see more encouraging changes using a measuring tape than you will by standing on a scale.

Read more about what causes belly fat, and make sure to check out our 10 quick-start tips and dietary dos and don’ts! If you’re into exercising, these are the exercises to burn belly fat.