OK, to lose belly fat you need to do all of the below, but “two easy and two hard ways to lose belly fat” is not quite as catchy.
- Eat and drink less. You already know this, but you cannot lose weight or fat without it. Pay special attention to your liquid intake. Whatever you think of Mayor Bloomberg’s initiative, he is correct about the detrimental effect of empty calories. Soda, juice, lattes, and all types of alcohol (there is a reason it is called “beer belly”) can add up to major calories. Cutting back can make a significant difference in how you look and feel.
- Do HIIT (high intensity interval training) at least twice a week. Start slowly, just ten second intervals followed by thirty to sixty seconds of active rest, and build up to high intensity intervals of one minute. Almost any type of activity will do; walking, running, biking, plyometrics or swimming. Try ten seconds of going as fast or hard as you can. Keep in mind that what is high intensity for you will not be the same for someone else. My running “sprint” is probably equivalent to my triathlete daughter’s warm-up. You should get close to breathless, then recover at a slower pace and repeat. This type of training helps the body stay in a higher gear; you will burn more calories the rest of the day. This greater metabolic demand will help you get rid of that stubborn belly fat. You can also workout for a shorter period; ten to twenty minutes of true HIIT can replace up to forty minutes of steady state endurance training.
The two easy ways:
- Get more sleep. Study after study has shown that rest is critical to weight loss. Many attribute it to a hormonal change caused by sleep deprivation. Decrease in one (leptin) makes it harder to stop eating, and the increase in another (ghrelin) causes you to want to eat more. Many of us also eat more when we feel tired. Getting enough sleep will help your body crave only the calories it really needs.
- Get a massage. Stress causes an increase in cortisol, another hormone, which makes us hold onto fat. Women in particular are prone to high cortisol levels in response to stress. It does not have to be a massage, but search out ways to decrease your stress level. A walk, book or hug may work for you; just make sure it is not food! Take time to treat yourself, and you may see your waist decrease as your energy goes up and your stress goes down.