Slimming down the belly proves difficult for some people. Certain areas of the body store fat willingly and hang on to it as a survival tactic against starvation. You must decrease your calories and increase your physical activity, but not so much that the body interprets these lifestyle changes as starvation. If you decrease caloric intake too quickly or make drastic changes to your diet, such as going too low-carb, the body can respond by shutting down fat-burning.
Eat five or six small meals throughout the day to elevate your metabolism. According to “The Abs Diet,” more frequent meals help you burn more fat, stabilize your blood sugar, suppress hunger and prevent body fat storage. Try for three main meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner), with snacks between them.
Control your portions to prevent storing body fat. “The Fat Burning Bible” recommends a diet consisting of 40 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent protein and 30 percent fat. Rather than counting every gram and/or calorie, visualize your portions to make sure you don’t overeat. “Combat the Fat” author Jeff Anderson recommends getting a serving of protein about the size of your flattened fist, a serving of carbohydrates that would fit into your cupped palm and a handful of nuts or seeds. For liquid fats, such as olive oil, visualize a serving about the size of your thumb (a tablespoon).
Choose “clean” foods that encourage fat burning and prevent fat storage. Not all carbs, proteins and fats have the same effect on the body. Eat lean proteins, such as fish, turkey, chicken and whey protein. Slow-digesting, low-glycemic carbs keep blood sugar from spiking. They include oatmeal, most fresh fruit, vegetables, brown rice, sweet potatoes and whole-grain breads and pastas. For healthy fats, select olive oil, omega-3 fish oil, natural peanut butter, avocados or nuts and seeds.
Do resistance training workouts at least three days a week. Weightlifting helps you burn fat in many ways. You burn a lot of calories while you work out, but you also elevate your metabolism for up to 48 hours or more afterward. In addition, resistance training builds metabolically active muscle, meaning that it burns calories even when you’re not exercising.
Perform cardiovascular exercise immediately after your resistance-training workout. Try 30 minutes of low-intensity cardio to start. According to fitness author Jeff Anderson, low-intensity cardio helps directly target body fat. Once or twice a week, add high-intensity interval training to increase fat-burning. To do this workout, use an exercise bike or elliptical machine and pedal at a challenging medium-intensity pace for 20 to 30 minutes, doing 15- to 30-second all-out sprints every two or three minutes.
About this Author
Andrew Bennett enjoys exploring health and fitness through his personal workouts, as well as researching the latest about the subject. As a natural body builder, Bennett enjoys the ongoing pursuit of health and wellness in all aspects of life. He writes articles, blogs, copy, and even award-winning screenplays.