How to lose lower belly fat the healthy way!
Getting rid of that lower belly can be a challenge. That belly pooch tends to hang out longer than desired.
Abdominal fat is created just like other body fat.
The higher the calorie intake and limited physical activity, the more fat storage in the belly and other body parts.
Causes of Belly Fat
Your gender may have something to do with the reasons why you gain belly fat. Females tend to have fat accumulation in the lower belly because of hormones, genetics, and age.
However, everyone should take the same approach to lose belly fat, regardless of sex or gender.
There are several reasons for that pooch, they can be related to things you cannot control and some that you can.
Things you cannot control, your genetics, menopause, levels of testosterone, metabolism.
The ones that you can control are your food intake, daily intake of calories, getting enough sleep, amount of physical activity, not having the correct stress management techniques.
Due to differences in body types, fat storage can be found in several different combinations.
The lower belly tends to have excess fat that is usually the most irritating and difficult to lose.
So then, what can you do to get rid of lower belly fat?
A whole lot can be done to reduce excess abdominal fat, but it takes knowing what to do and how to do it.
Here are some ways to get rid of lower stomach fat.
How to Lose Lower Stomach Fat
You can lose body fat all over your body, but some people can’t lose weight in their thighs, arms, or chest.
Most complaints come from the usual areas of the body the lower stomach fat.
To put it simply, eating a healthy diet, that is based on eating in moderation, fewer calories, a good exercise plan, and lifestyle changes can make the weight loss journey easy to achieve and that waist size maintained.
When I say eating in moderation, I want to stress that healthy foods can also be over-consumed.
This may still cause weight gain in the lower stomach because the calorie intake is still there and will be stored as fat.
Keep in mind that going on crash diets, spot reduction exercises for the abdominal muscles is not the solution.
It is a two-step process of a healthy diet and daily movement.
The Best Way to Reduce Excess Belly Fat
Excess belly fat can be attributed to visceral fat and subcutaneous fat. A recent study shows that having an extra pound in the abdomen can have negative effects on metabolic health (1).
This combination can sometimes be the reason fat accumulation in the abdomen can be so difficult to get rid of.
For fat loss in this region, intake of the right foods and daily movement no matter what kind, can be the solution.
You will most likely encounter overall weight reduction if you commit to a daily routine of healthy eating and moving.
Eliminate foods that are highly processed and high in refined sugars, research shows that these foods induce blood sugar instability and inflammation of the digestive tract (3).
Instead, add veggies like cruciferous vegetables which may help keep you feel full longer and contain many nutrients.
- brussel sprouts
- collard greens
Protein can boost your stamina and energy without adding a lot of calories to your daily calorie needs.
More Calorie-Dense foods – Lean Protein Sources:
Eliminate artificially sweetened beverages, diet soda, soda, energy drinks, Sweetened coffee beverages.
Instead include water, black coffee, and an unsweetened cup of tea.
1. Check Your Body Mass Index (BMI)
You first need to know where you are, to know where you are going.
The body mass index (also known as BMI) is one of many tools to measure a person’s health.
A formula that takes your height and weight into account and gives a numerical value.
This value places you in categories such as underweight, healthy, overweight, obesity, or morbid obesity (8).
Knowing which category, you land in will help you determine where you need to be, in order to in healthy.
The key is also to track steady weight loss.
2. Create a Calorie Deficit
Once you know where you stand, next is knowing your Basal metabolic rate (BMR), the minimum amount of calorie intake your body needs to function.
By knowing your minimum number of calories, you can determine how low your calorie deficit can go-to guide you in the direction to shrink your lower abdomen.
Creating a calorie deficit: Burn calories more than the food intake per day and you can achieve a calorie deficit.
To burn calories of 3,500 can be equal to 1 pound of fat.
With a 500-calorie deficit per day, through a combination of diet and exercise, you can lose about 1 pound of fat per week.
An easy way to achieve a calorie deficit is to reduce sugary foods like cakes, ice cream, foods with high fructose corn syrup. Eliminating sugary drinks like fruit juice or Gatorade.
Eliminate the use of margarine and sway toward a low-carb option.
For most people, losing more than 2 pounds per week involves more restriction than is recommended health-wise.
3. Fill Your Plate With Nutrient-dense foods
The quickest way to lose that tummy fat is to think about the amount of food intake and the type of food.
A great way to add high amounts of nutrient-dense foods is to increase veggies and real foods significantly.
The increase in veggies creates a balanced diet, increasing micronutrients and macronutrients.
All vegetables have a combination of micronutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.
Phytochemicals are made by plants to fight off fungi, bacteria, and viruses. Because there still needs to be more research on its benefits to humans it is typically not recommended to buy as supplements.
You add carbohydrates in simple and complex forms, this type of carb intake in moderation is the way to increase nutrient-dense foods.
These provide energy for the body to function and energy for the brain to think.
With some lean meats like chicken breast, lean beef, and some fatty fish.
You add nutrients that help with tissue repair and the feeling of fullness. You are well on your way to a healthy weight and a lower belly.
4. Add Soluble Fiber
There are two types of fiber. The soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.
The type of fiber with the most health benefits is soluble fiber, it helps the digestive system, blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, and weight maintenance.
Unfortunately, most people do not get enough fiber in their diet.
In your digestive system, this type of fiber can dissolve in water creating a gel-like consistency.
This gel absorbs the water along with the digestive system and allows for the bulking of your stools keeping you from becoming constipated or having diarrhea.
The fiber also helps lower blood sugar levels by slowing down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream.
Cholesterol levels are improved by soluble fiber, specifically the bad LDL cholesterol by trapping the fatty molecules and not allowing it to be absorbed into the bloodstream and rather be excreted with the stool.
Weight maintenance can be achieved with soluble fiber with the feeling of fullness.
Vegetables are a great source of fiber and should be a key component of your diet even if you’re not trying to lose body fat.
But you can also find soluble fiber in grains, oats, nuts, apples, beans, blueberries, quinoa, brown rice, potatoes.
The fiber intake recommendation is 25-30 grams of soluble fiber per day.
5. Increase Protein Consumption
To help with weight maintenance, high protein intake is essential for long-term results. What is important to know is that the healthiest protein is lean protein.
Proteins have multiple functions, such as keeping you full longer which in turn controls your appetite.
It also helps with balancing sugar levels in your blood, amino acids as building blocks of tissue, and as another type of energy source (5).
By balancing the sugar levels in your blood, you minimize fat storage. And by controlling your appetite you decrease any excess calories.
Good sources of protein, legumes, Greek yogurt, nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, chicken, lean meats.
You can also find protein in beverages, milk, soy milk, and almond milk.
The recommended grams of protein is usually 0.8-1.0 grams of protein per kilogram.
6. Decrease Foods That Cause Inflammation
All foods in balance are healthy, but there are a few that cause inflammation in our bodies.
Which can then increase lower abdominal fat.
Some foods that promote inflammation include the saturated fat found in meat and dairy products, fast food, junk food, fried food, palm oil, foods with trans fats (usually processed foods).
The good news is that some foods aid the inflamed body. Lowering inflammation can be achieved by increasing unprocessed foods.
Good diet tips: Choose foods with unsaturated fats, such foods are the oil in fish oils, nuts, flaxseed these carry the famed omega-3 fatty acids.
Also, olive oil, avocado oil and fruits and vegetables, mushrooms, legumes, whole grains, teas, and spices.
7. Add Physical Activity to Your Day
Exercise goes hand in hand with nutrition. Daily movement helps make you feel good, clear-minded and help you reach your weight loss goals.
By moving every single day, you allow your body to increase muscle mass in turn for your body to burn energy, that may have been consumed in excess (7).
If you are nervous about weight management with a fitness plan, a consult with a personal trainer can help you to identify areas of your body that need help with starting position or correct form, build muscle, increase lean muscle tissue, improve your overall physique.
There really isn’t a lower belly fat workout but the following kinds of exercise can help with fat loss are aerobic exercise (cardio), strength training, resistance training, HIIT workouts.
8. Cardio Routine to Get You Started
It is recommended to get at least 150 minutes of cardio sessions per week, this is an effective way to get you in a routine but also to help your cardiovascular health (6).
Aerobic exercise can be as simple as walking, walking on a treadmill, a jog, a low-intensity long run, using a jump rope, or any other activity that gets your heart rate up.
Regular cardio workouts will not only help you burn abdominal fat (visceral fat) but will also decrease your risk of heart disease.
9. Strength Training for a Strong Body
Besides helping with fat loss, strength training does more. It helps with bone health, improved metabolism, and reduces risk factors for chronic conditions.
According to the Centers for Disease Control guidelines, strength training workouts can be done at least twice per week, focusing on the major muscle groups (6).
Muscle groups to focus on:
- Chest, back and lower back muscles (torso)
- Arm and shoulder muscles
- Ab muscles
- Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings
With this type of workout, you can use your own body weight, free weights, and weight machines.
You can do a 15-minute total-body workout with a combination of pushups, pull-ups, planks, knee plank, squat jumps, lunges, Russian twist, crunches, burpees, mountain climber, hips flexor. All of these exercises work your entire midsection.
They help to burn and get rid of abdominal fat.
You can also lift weights like barbells, dumbbells or use a medicine ball and a kettlebell.
With the weight machines, where you can do leg presses, chest presses, seated leg extension.
Exercises that include barbells for example:
- Barbell back squats
- Barbell front squat
- Barbell lunges
Working with a set of dumbbells!
Exercises with dumbbells:
- Dumbbell squats
- Goblet squats
You can also use a kettlebell:
- Kettlebell swing single-handed
- Kettlebell swing two hands
- Kettlebell swing changing hands
You may also like: 15-Minute Total-Body Workout
10. Train Your Core Abdominal Muscles
The wish is to be able to work out only the target muscles for spot reduction, unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.
To target your abdomen, you need to do a whole-body workout. But you can do abdominal exercises to help strengthen it.
Workouts that target all angles such as the upper abs, lower abs, oblique’s, rectus abdominis can be performed. Also, an overall workout like Pilates can be helpful to abs.
These core exercises can be crunches for the upper abs, plank knee-to-nose or mountain climbers for the lower abs, side planks for the obliques, regular planks for rectus abdominis.
11. Include High Intensity Exercise (HIIT)
One way to help decrease overall body fat is to try out a high-intensity exercise like the well-known high-intensity interval training (HIIT) several times a week.
This type of training alternates from intense bursts of movement to lower intensity or rest periods, thus the intervals.
The point is to get your heart rate up during those bursts.
Because you’ll be burning a lot of calories in the form of energy, you’ll see lower abdomen flatten and overall body fat percentage goes down as well.
Good examples of HIIT workouts:
- Mountain Climbers
- Squat jumps
- Medicine ball slam
Keep in mind that high intensity during workouts can be dangerous, consult with your doctor first before starting this type of fitness routine.
12. Lifestyle Changes for Lower Belly Fat Loss
Other very important factors to weight loss, are related to your lifestyle.
A good idea is to start thinking about healthy habits, they are essential to be on a routine that helps your body stay away from temptations.
Therefore, healthy changes to your lifestyle are just as important as eating and moving.
Consider these lifestyle changes:
- Drink plenty of water.
- Get more hours of sleep, avoid sleep deprivation
- Don’t drink so much alcohol
- Acknowledging that cravings, may be actual hunger
- Quitting with smoking
Drinking plenty of water helps your body control that lower belly and keep your body in balance.
Getting enough hours of sleep is also important, a lack of sleep can trigger the stress hormone cortisol, the elevated cortisol levels are known to increase fat cells (4).
From the topics mentioned above, alcohol consumption can be the most worrying.
These liquid calories can easily contribute to so much belly fat if excess alcohol is consumed. A lot of alcohol has contributed to the typical ” beer belly” (2).
Cravings can also be important to manage, it adds to a person’s sugar addiction. Usually, a person with cravings will want large amounts of sugary food, junk food, and sugary drinks.
How to Get Rid of Lower Belly Fat After Having a Baby
Having a strong core and a flat stomach after giving birth is every woman’s dream.
Abdominal muscles and the pelvis are the most affected and take the longest to recover.
Getting into core workouts after pregnancy may pose additional challenges. Wait at least 6 weeks before starting an exercise routine and talk to your doctor about your health and clearance to start.
During pregnancy women gain weight (which is not a bad thing) to support the growing baby.
After delivery, it’s normal to experience a soft midsection with an extra layer that feels like a belly flab, this can be used as an energy store for breastfeeding and the birth recovery process.
Part of your body’s response to pregnancy and post-partum is to have increased calorie needs. It’s important to be patient and kind to yourself.
Don’t restrict calories while you’re breastfeeding. It can reduce your breast milk supply.
If it appears that the muscles in your lower abs have been separated by pregnancy, you may have a condition called diastasis recti.
It is important for a woman post-partum to:
- First be patient and kind to her body
- If breastfeeding, increased calorie needs will take priority
- Wait for doctor to clear exercise routine
- If possible, request for a Registered Dietitian to help create a balanced weight loss plan that will continue to provide enough nutrients for breastfeeding.
- If possible, get a personal trainer to evaluate the abdomen for best exercises.
Also, ask your doctor about workouts and physical therapy options if you believe you might have this condition.
Most importantly, make sure to have an eating pattern that includes Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and possibly 2-3 snacks.
This eating pattern will help you have a balanced intake of macronutrients like protein, carbs, and healthy monounsaturated fat.
Also, by including a variety of foods that will give your body access to micronutrients that will add the vitamins and minerals that your body needs.
Hormones Can Play a Major Role In Fat Stores
Believe it or not, hormone imbalances can cause weight gain expanding your waistline.
Stubborn belly fat can be affected by medical conditions and lifestyle factors.
Having hormone imbalances can be the result of medical conditions like PCOS, menopause, insulin resistance, insulin sensitivity, diagnosis of diabetes.
These conditions are a health issue, they throw your body out of whack yet mostly can be treated in different ways as long as the condition is identified and addressed.
Non-medical conditions can be malnutrition, lack of exercise, the stress hormone cortisol reacting to stress, under-eating can also trigger the ghrelin hunger hormones. All things that can also be addressed with healthy habits.
The Final Take on Stubborn Lower Belly Fat
Lower abdominal fat can be the most stubborn but not impossible to get rid of. Spot reduction doesn’t work that way, you need an overall weight loss in order for your body to lose that stubborn belly fat.
It is an area of your body that can be tricky to lose since most people lose weight differently.
Overall weight loss caused by long-term lifestyle change is the only way to lose abdominal fat in a healthy way.
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