BELLY fat can be stubborn and often the last place weight comes off.
But there could be some simple tricks you’re missing that will speed up fat loss around the waist.
Although experts say it’s not possible to target weight loss to a certain area, the belly is known to be a spot where fat holds onto.
That’s because it's made up of fat cells that don’t respond to the fat-breakdown process as well.
Belly fat can also be a result of our stress levels and hormones – not just a product of our diet.
While it’s normal to have a layer of fat, studies have shown that carrying excess weight around the tummy can damage long term-health.
It’s not just the fat you can see, either.
Visceral fat, which collects around the organs in the stomach, can lead to diabetes, heart attack, and some cancers.
An avocado a day
A new study has shown that eating avocado every day can fight this dangerous type of belly fat in women.
The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign put 105 people on different diets for 12 weeks.
Half were given an avocado a day, and those that did saw a reduction in their visceral fat.
Lead author Dr Naiman Khan said: “The location of fat in the body plays an important role in health.
“What we learned is that a dietary pattern that includes an avocado every day impacted the way individuals store body fat in a beneficial manner for their health, but the benefits were primarily in females.”
The Healthy Mummy – a weight loss programme – has revealed eight other ways to shift fat from the belly area:
1. Chew your food slowly
Our parents all told us to “chew, chew, chew, swallow” – and they were right.
For, making sure you are properly chewing your food can help avoid weight gain.
It’s a mindfulness trick used to focus your brain on the food you are eating – how it tastes and feels.
“Many of us tend to scoff our food when we’re in a hurry or starving. But scientists have found surprising health benefits of chewing your food,” The Healthy Mummy wrote online.
“When you swallow lots of air when you're eating, this can lead to that stuffed feeling and may cause your stomach to swell.
“Savour your food and chew slowly to prevent this, and this can also help you eat smaller portions.”
2. Stay hydrated and avoid fizzy drinks
Losing belly “fat” may just be a case of preventing bloating.
“Fizzy soft drinks and sparkling mineral waters can cause your tummy to puff out, due to those bubbles of carbon dioxide,” The Healthy Mummy wrote.
“Soft drinks have little nutritional value so try to wean yourself off them and opt for water or green tea as your main drink choices.”
Soft drinks, like squash, contain sugars, which may contribute to overall weight if you drink them throughout the day.
“What’s more, your body may actually be thirsty not hungry and you’re mistaking the ‘water pangs’ for ‘hunger pangs’."
3. Cut back on alcohol
Alcohol is only useful for having a good time because it does no favours at all for our health or figures.
“Alcohol, especially sweet fizzy based drinks and beer make it nearly impossible to lose stomach fat and puts extra stress on your liver to clear out the toxins,” The Healthy Mummy wrote.
“This extra pressure on your liver can make it very hard to build muscle which is key to losing belly fat.”
Alcohol can also lead you to reach for fatty hangover foods or drain you of energy to exercise.
4. Get good sleep
“If you are struggling to lose weight, especially around your waist, it might be time to look at your sleep patterns,” The Healthy Mummy said.
Various studies have shown that if you’re not sleeping well, it can cause weight gain.
People are more likely to crave junk food when they are sleep deprived because, not only are they in need of an energy boost, but their appetite hormones are all over the place.
5. Keep stress levels down
“Stress can also often lead to weight gain and women often tend to store more fat around their tummies when they are feeling stressed,” The Healthy Mummy wrote.
Stress causes an imbalance of hormones, particularly cortisol. This hormone has been linked with obesity and excess belly fat.
The Healthy Mummy added: “People believe they are too stressed to cook and do not have enough time. They opt for either take away meals which are convenient for time but not convenient for your waistline nor your hip pocket.”
6. Work on your posture
Good posture is essential for the health of bones and joints – but did you know changing the way you stand can improve your figure, too?
The Healthy Mummy wrote: “Those with a good posture, whether they are working at a desk or walking may be helping to engage their stomach and abdominal muscles and tone their tummy.”
Your toned tummy won't be seen unless you cut down on body fat.
But it works both ways, as those with a strong core may find exercise easier.
7. Eat better food
It seems obvious that if you want to blast belly fat, you need to watch what you eat.
However, The Health Mummy warns that even some “healthy” foods can cause bloating.
It said: “Even certain HEALTHY foods like apples, broccoli and beans are known to cause bloating so with these, it’s best to have smaller portions and eat them with other foods.
“But the good news is that there are certain foods that can help! Foods like bananas, avocados, asparagus, ginger and yoghurt with probiotics are great anti-bloat foods – though too much dairy can make it worse.”
Bloating is individual to each person, and so if you suffer from it, find out what is causing it using a food diary.
8. Potion control
The Healthy Mummy said: “Portion control is one of the most important factors in weight loss, weight maintenance and weight gain, especially when you are trying to lose weight.
“If you eat just the right amount of food, you’ll strike a balance and you’ll be able to lose weight, especially around your stomach.”
Portion control sounds daunting, but it doesn’t necessarily mean eating less food.
It may just mean being more educated on food labels in the supermarket, and opting for low-fat dairy, or lean meats instead of fatty meats.
You can also focus on filling up the plate with lower calories foods, for example halving your usual serving of rice and adding cooked cauliflower or broccoli to it.
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