There will always be times in life when you feel bloated and not looking your best, and this may be due to a whole host if issues including hormonal problems, a sluggish thyroid, or just plain old over eating. But the fact is, when you don’t feel good about yourself it shows in everything you do, and this unfortunately can and most certainly will, if left to fester, sabotage your life.
Feeling this way is a sign that it’s high time for changes in your life, and in this post I will give you the top 10 effective tips on how to lose belly fat quickly for that fresh lease of life you desire, and for the confidence boost you need to live your life to the fullest in a body you are proud of.
Beating the belly bloat
Maybe you have an event, wedding or holiday coming up and you only have a matter of weeks to get your much desired flatter stomach and you’re wondering if it’s even possible right? Well it totally is, but you will need to be willing to overhaul your diet AND add in some specific belly fat blasting exercises in.
This needn’t be an expensive or time-consuming venture, and you don’t even have to go hungry because I would never promote those dangerous starvation diets that simply do not work in the long run. In fact, they just mess up your metabolism and cause you to quickly gain even more weight than before – weight that you will finder even harder to lose the next time around!
Yoyo dieting is bad – really bad!
Continuously losing and gaining weight is what is often referred to as yoyo dieting, and is not a cycle I recommend you get into. Instead, you should relearn new ways of thinking and eating that will help you naturally change some of your bad habits for good, as this is ultimately the only surefire way of looking and feeling your best for life.
And that’s not even touching on all the other awesome benefits of a healthy and fit body, such as a lower risk of many diseases including the obvious that is obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes. The list goes on of the potential side effects of being overweight (particularly having excess belly fat which is an even higher risk factor for ALL of these dangerous health problems).
So let’s get to the point – you’ve decided you would like a flatter stomach and fast; or maybe you would just like to lose a few kilos in general but you definitely don’t want to be miserable and hungry (who does). This is where you’ll need to apply some, or (if you’re really serious) ALL of the 10 steps on the below checklist.
Your own willpower will always determine how successful you are in your weight loss efforts, but fortunately most of these steps are pretty easily and cheaply incorporated into your life with minimum effort, and if you follow them you should be seeing results in a matter of days – so, without further ado let’s get started!
The goal here is to change life long bad habits and create new neural pathways in your your brain (really not as complicated as it sounds, and happens naturally). When this happens, it will make things easier for you to stick to as they will become second nature in your life.
1. EAT LOW GI, HIGH PROTEIN FOODS
You should switch to low GI foods as much as possible if your’re serious about long term weight loss. GI stands for ‘glycemic index’, and is the rating of how fast a food releases its sugars into the blood and its subsequent effect on blood glucose (the lower the GI the better in terms of weight loss).
Eating low GI foods will help keep blood sugar under control, which in turn will help to control sugar cravings. It’s usually those annoying sugar or carbohydrate cravings that will ruin your diet efforts – and by sugar I don’t necessarily mean just foods or drinks that taste sweet, as refined carbohydrates such as white flours, breads, and rice are high GI and will act the same way as sugar does in the body, inevitably causing a sugar high and soon after the inevitable crash.
You will then find yourself craving more and more refined carbs and sugary treats to perk yourself back up again, and this can then become a self-perpetuating cycle. This is a slippery slope to what has been coined as sugar addiction (technically known as the addiction to the ‘high’ rather than the sugar itself), which can eventually lead to obesity and disease. They don’t say sugar is MORE addictive than cocaine for nothing!
Get off the sugar train ASAP
The first thing to do is to try to get yourself off this so called sugar train ASAP by either cutting out (or seriously down on) refined sugars and carbs such as sweets, cakes, confectionery, pastries and fast foods. Replace these with these known foods to eat to lose fat fast such as whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat, amaranth, millet and oats; along with plenty of pulses, lentils, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables and this will help keep your blood sugar on an even keel and your body in a higher state of fat burning.
Add into your diet these known fat burning foods
- Raw Almonds
- Hemp Seeds
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Nutritional Yeast
- Whole grains
- Berries of all kinds
- Coconut oil in place of other oils
- Green Superfood Shots
2. CUT OUT TRANS FATS
These are the nasty kind of fats found in deep-fried foods, margarines and fast foods. They are made industrially in a process of adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils which turns them solid. They are then added to our food to make it taste better and last longer. But word of warning: they are hazardous to your health and can raise your blood cholesterol levels, thus increasing your risk of heart attack, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
These trans fats also increase the oxidative stress in your body, meaning accelerated aging both on the inside and out. Scary right? Eating lots of antioxidant rich foods helps to negate this, but cutting out or drastically down on trans fats altogether is the only long term solution to keeping belly fat off for good.
3. ADD IN HEALTHY FATS
We do most certainly need fats, but we need the healthy kind, not just to keep our hearts healthy, but to actually help boost metabolism. Healthy fats such as those found on the whole plant food diet such as coconuts, avocados, nuts and seeds help your body to excrete that unwanted stored fat, and more specifically that dangerous belly fat.
It’s always best to go for the ‘whole food’ fat, rather than the fractionated fats that have been removed from their original sources such as in the case of olive, coconut, and any other refined oils. The body can assimilate whole foods better as they are more natural, plus there is less chance of over-consumption this way.
The omega 3 fatty acids found in nuts and seeds are especially vital for those in training (or doing lots of exercise), as they help with blood flow to the muscles. This in turn stimulates enzymes into transporting fat to where it is needed and ready to be used for energy, thus boosting the fat burning process.
4. DRINK APPLE CIDER VINEGAR, LEMON AND CINNAMON
Apple cider vinegar is a great way to help suppress appetite throughout the day. This PubMed study shows that it can even cause you to eat between 200-275 calories LESS throughout the rest of your day due to its amazing effect on actually lowering blood sugar – so that’s a potential free calorie burn guys!
These results were seen at a 30ml dose per day, and preferably taken first thing in the morning before breakfast. Adding ceylon cinnamon (which is also known for its ability to reduce insulin quantities) will help to squash sugar cravings even more. And the adding of lemon juice (which is a liver detoxifyer) will help to make it even more of a triple whammy fat burning drink. I have one of these every morning and feel it definitely helps keep my weight under control; along with a healthy diet and exercise of course.
How to make this Fat Blasting Drink
Add 30ml of good quality apple cider vinegar with the mother (this is very important as the mother is the healthful bit), half a squeezed lemon, and a teaspoon of ceylon cinnamon to 300ml of warm water. Drink in the morning on an empty stomach for best results.
You may wish to add a teaspoon of raw honey for sweetness, but make sure it is a good quality raw honey as this is the kind that is known to help mobilise stored fat ready to be used as energy (and remember, honey isn’t technically plant based). You will definitely find this drink also really boosts your skin and really gets you going AND glowing.
5. CUT DOWN ALCOHOL
You may like a glass of red or a beer at the end of a long day to help you unwind, and I definitely don’t want to poop on that party, but alcohol is very high calorie and needs to be added towards your daily calorie intake if you don’t wish to gain weight. To make matters worse, it also scores zero on every nutritional front!
It’s easy to forget about including drinks into your daily calorie allowance (i’m talking about ALL drinks here, including soft drinks, juices, and hot drinks with added milk, cream and sugar) but this is where a lot of hidden unaccounted for calories and fats may lie, and is something worth keeping your eye on.
Calories in Popular Alcoholic Beverages
- 1 small glass of wine – 150 calories
- 1 pint of medium strength lager – 180 calories
- 1 pint of medium strength cider – 210 calories
- 1 pint of Guinness – 210 calories
- Standard 25 ml shot of spirits – 106 calories + extra for mixer
As you can see, those couple of alcoholic drinks every day (which you quite rightly may like to indulge in after a hard days work) can cost you over the course of a week up to 2,900 calories alone. That’s 11, 600 calories a month! Astronomical when you think about it, and equates to about 6 days WHOLE DAYS worth of calories per month (going by the average 2,000 calorie a day diet) – and that’s JUST IN ALCOHOL.
I’m no mathematician, but that’s some mind-blowing statistics right there and a fascinating example of why alcohol really isn’t your friend if you’re trying to lose weight. And there’s even more bad news (sorry), most alcoholic beverages can actually decrease your belly fat burning abilities.
Still, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel because…
A glass of red wine can actually be healthy, believe it or not!
A reprieve! Having said how bad alcohol can be, it just so happens that a small glass of red wine does in fact contain a phenol known as resveratrol. This phenol has the ability to interfere with fat synthesis AND can also help stop the body from laying down fat stores. Plus, icing on cake here – it’s also a powerful antioxidant – and antioxidants are anti aging!
So, moral of the story – if you do crave an alcoholic drink to help you relax at the end of the day, then be sure to make it a glass of red… but just the one, mind.
6. WHITE AND GREEN TEA
Both white and green tea are effective metabolism boosters and you should drink in abundance whichever one you prefer; or ideally a mix of both if you wish to keep your metabolism revved up as much as possible. Four cups a day (2 of each) is a good amount for maximum results as this alone could potentially help you to torch up to 100 calories extra a day.
It’s also worth noting that green and white tea may even help you to lose stomach fat specifically!
Contains a unique antioxidant called EGCG, which is believed to be anti inflammatory and heart friendly among many other benefits. It also contains other catechins that can stoke your metabolism by up to 4% (which may not seem like much, but just think about how this will add up over time, especially if you’re diligent about swapping your normal hot drinks for these healthier versions).
It also contains NO calories, therefore if you usually have a high calorie latte with sugar as your beverage of choice then this would yet again be another huge calorie saving in one simple swap.
White tea seems to be just as much of a superstar as green, though it doesn’t contain the EGCG antioxidant. However, it does contain around 3 times MORE polyphenols than green, hence the reason you should alternate for best results.
There’s also another exciting titbit of information about this tea: according to a study produced by ‘Nutrition and Metabolism‘ white tea can boost fat breakdown and even BLOCK the formation of fat cells – so, time to stick the kettle on for a brew I say.
Oh sleep wonderful sleep. Most of us don’t get enough of this basic and vital function, but did you know that lack of it can have a devastating effect on your weight? More so for that dangerous belly fat, so if ever there was an excuse to get more sleep, then this is it.
It’s a fact that 7-9 hours sleep is so crucial to us human beings that we can actually die from chronic lack of it in the long term, because not getting enough good quality kip also ups drastically your chances of obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and it can also lead to a decline in cognitive function.
Tiredness triggers sugar cravings
Lack of sleep makes you more likely to crave sugar and junk foods due to major hormones being thrown out of whack. This means you are more likely to produce more of the hunger hormone ghrelin and less of the satiety hormone leptin; both of which will spell disaster for your diet.
To help negate the damage from sugar cravings, don’t head for high GI foods; instead go for a high protein, low carbohydrate snack when the urge strikes.
Worse still, when you’re tired you will be more prone to giving in to those cravings, as tiredness also negatively affects willpower. Also, those extra calories are less likely to be broken down when you’re nackered because your digestive system will get lazy and won’t digest foods as well as it should. All this leads to higher than normal blood sugar – and guess what? That high blood sugar, in turn encourages fat storage.
To make sure you don’t end up in this vicious cycle make sure you get your sleep, it’s as simple as that!
7. CARDIOVASCULAR EXERCISE
Cardiovascular exercise is basically any activity that gets your heart rate up, asuch as running, exercise bike, swimming, squash, power walking and HIIT. The list is endless when it comes to exercise and you can easily find fun ways to do it with a little imagination.
Fitness doesn’t have to mean expensive gym memberships as there are a myriad of activities you can potentially partake in for next to nothing, both in the home and outdoors. You will find some great examples in this post – Why Exercise is Vital. Feel free to check it out and find something that you will enjoy.
At least 3 x 1 hour sessions of calorie burning cardio per week will help fire up your metabolism and keep you in belly fat burning mode.
This YouTube video will give you some great ideas for an at home HIIT workout.
9. WEIGHT BEARING EXERCISE
Weight bearing exercise is very important when it comes to fat burning as it helps build muscle, which is in itself a huge calorie burner. So, keep muscle mass up as much as possible if you want to keep in shape!
Doing stomach toning exercises such as sit ups and planks will also strengthen and ‘pull in’ the muscles that lie below your belly fat, thus giving the illusion of a slimmer stomach.
Getting enough protein
If you’re exercising a lot, then you may wish to consider a protein supplement. A high protein diet in general will help to keep your muscle mass high whilst still losing fat, which is very important as you do not want to lose precious muscle mass whilst dieting (a thing that is very easy to do as your body prefers to burn lean muscle instead of fat for fuel when calorie intake goes too low). Remember, you need high muscle mass to keep your metabolism stoked and burning calories.
Supplementing 30 grams of a good quality protein powder within half an hour of waking (no carbs at all with it) will boost your metabolism and help you to burn more calories throughout the day. Some professional sports nutritionists say that this figure could be up to 400 calories MORE a day, but I will leave you to find this out for yourself.
Hula Hooping – a way to lose belly fat fast at home!
I couldn’t end this section about exercise without mentioning the fastest and most effective belly fat toner I’ve ever personally tried that is hula hooping. The caveat is it must be a weighted hula hoop for maximum effectiveness; but honestly, this exercise is seriously effective if you do it every day as it tones your abdominal muscles pretty fast.
You can hula hoop anywhere, even in front of the TV. And you only need to do it about 20-30 minutes 5 x per week to see quick results. The adult weighted hula hoop (specifically designed for the job) is a cheap investment, and is my number one recommendation for fat burning along with the other suggestions on this list. The more you do, the quicker you will see results.
If you want to keep your will power and determination up, then track your food intake and activities. You can do this really simply and easily with modern technology and the use of apps and fitness trackers; or even go the old-fashioned way of hand written charts and journaling.
Whatever you choose, just be sure to do it! It will make all the difference to see some kind of reference to your progression, and it will also create ACCOUNTABILITY, which is a proven and effective way to keep you going when the going gets tough.
For example: you can leave your food, exercise, body and weight goals on a chart pinned to the fridge for everybody in your household to keep an eye on. This way, if you feel like caving you’ll have an incentive to keep going because you will have other people to answer to; in the nicest possible way of course.
Whatever tips you decide to follow from this list, be it all or just a few of the suggestions, make sure to implement them daily. You will be surprised how quickly the little things add up, and just how fast your body responds and adapts to these changes.
I would love to hear how you get on on your health and fitness journey, so if you would like to leave a comment, or if you need any more advice then please don’t hesitate to drop me a comment in the thread below. What works for you? Do you have your own weight loss tips that haven’t been mentioned here? I’m sure they could be of benefit to others if you were to share them.
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