It’s a common misconception that spot-reducing fat is possible. Many people think that they can tone specific areas of their body by doing exercises that target those areas explains Alex Gierbolini. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Fat loss occurs when you create a calorie deficit by burning more calories than you consume. You can do this by reducing your overall calorie intake and/or increasing your activity level.
While it is not possible to spot-reduce fat, there are things you can do to help reduce stubborn belly fat.
1.Eat plenty of protein:
- Protein is an important nutrient for weight loss. It can increase feelings of fullness, reduce cravings, and help you retain muscle mass during weight loss (13Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).
- A high-protein diet has been linked to a lower risk of belly fat. In one study, women who ate a high-protein diet (20% of their daily calories from protein) lost more fat from their waistlines without losing any muscle, compared to those on a lower-protein diet (15% protein) (16Trusted Source).
- Eating plenty of protein can also increase the number of calories you burn. In one study, men who consumed 30% of their calories from protein burned 12% more calories than those who ate a lower amount (17Trusted Source).
- Protein is made up of amino acids, which are used for everything from building muscle tissue to carrying oxygen through your blood.
- If you’re not getting enough protein in your diet, you can also try taking a supplement, such as whey protein powder.
2. Avoid sugary beverages:
- Sugar-sweetened beverages are one of the unhealthiest drinks you can consume. They’re high in calories and sugar, which can contribute to weight gain (18Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source).
- A 16-ounce (473-ml) bottle of sugary soda contains about 240 calories and 65 grams of sugar (20Trusted Source).
- Swapping out sugary drinks for water or unsweetened tea and coffee is an excellent way to cut calories and promote fat loss says Alex Gierbolini.
3. Drink water:
- Drinking enough water is essential for weight loss.
- Water can help you feel full and reduce unnecessary calorie consumption (21Trusted Source, 22Trusted Source).
- A recent study showed that people who drank two cups of water before meals lost more weight than those who didn’t drink any water at all (23Trusted Source).
- In another study, participants who increased their water intake by 1.5 liters per day lost 9.5 pounds (4.3 kg) more over a 12-month period than those who didn’t increase their water intake (24).
- Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially if you’re exercising, to make up for fluid loss.
4. Avoid refined carbs:
- Refined carbs are low in fiber and nutrients. They’re also high in calories and can contribute to weight gain (25Trusted Source, 26Trusted Source).
- Some studies have shown that eating refined carbs is linked to increased belly fat (27Trusted Source, 28Trusted Source).
- If you must eat refined carbs, make sure to eat them with other healthy foods, such as vegetables, nuts, or seeds, to offset the negative effects says Alex Gierbolini.
5. Fill up on fiber:
- Eating plenty of fiber is a great way to keep your digestive system healthy and promote feelings of fullness. It can also help you lose weight and belly fat (29Trusted Source, 30Trusted Source, 31Trusted Source).
- Fiber is found in plant foods like vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains. It’s also available in supplement form, such as psyllium husk or methylcellulose.
- Aim to get at least 25 grams of fiber per day from food or supplements. This is the amount recommended for women over 50 years old and men over 40 years old (32Trusted Source).
6. Limit your alcohol intake:
- Alcohol is high in calories but low in nutrients. It’s also associated with an increased risk of weight gain (33Trusted Source, 34Trusted Source).
- A recent study showed that moderate alcohol consumption was linked to a higher risk of belly fat in men (35Trusted Source).
- Another study showed that alcohol may contribute to a small increase in belly fat over time (36Trusted Source).
- Limit your alcohol intake to no more than two drinks per day if you’re a man and one drink per day if you’re a woman.
Cutting back on sugary drinks, alcohol and refined carbs can help promote weight loss and fat loss says Alex Gierbolini. Eating plenty of protein, fiber and water can also help.