How to lose belly fat and get a flat stomach
The holy grail of most people who exercise and diet is to lose belly fat and get, then maintain, a flat stomach. But exactly what does it take to lose belly fat and get a flat stomach or visible six pack? This article exams the rules of how to lose belly fat and what it takes to get a flat stomach.
Belly fat, or stomach fat, in a growing problem for many people. Traditionally it was the male of the species that carried excess belly fat if their daily calorie intake exceeded their daily calorie output, whereas women would carry any excess weight around the hips and thighs. However, these days many women are also finding that they are beginning to carry excess belly fat around the stomach area.
Carrying excess belly fat also places the heart under a great deal of stress, resulting in heart attacks and strokes. This means that the need to lose belly fat and getting a flat stomach isn't just an aesthetic need it is a health requirement.
Belly fat, or abdominal fat, is usually very stubborn and it takes some work to reduce it and remove it completely. Make no mistake to lose belly fat and get a flat stomach requires some sacrifice. But once the belly fat, beer belly or tubby tummy has gone and only a flat stomach or visible six pack remains you'll know that all the hard work and sacrifice was well worth it.
Below we have created a set of rules in order for you to lose belly fat and have a toned, firm flat stomach. Try to follow them and in relatively no time at all you will lose your stomach fat.
Lose belly fat rule # 1 - The booze has to go
Ok, so may be we shouldn't completely ban alcohol but make no mistake drinking too much booze will lead to the infamous beer belly. Alcohol carries 7 calories per ml. That means a pint of beer (568 ml) includes approximately 420 calories. As these calories have no nutritional value what so ever these are 420 calories per pint that are simply adding to your daily calorie intake.
It take 3500 excess calories to create 1lb of belly fat. That equates to only 9 pints of beer or just over 12 glasses of win a week! Some people can drink this amount in a week quite comfortably. For others it may take two weeks. Even so that will be a weight gain of between 26 to 52 lb of excess belly fat in one year.
So, as you can see, if you want to lose stomach fat then ditch the majority of the booze you drink in any given week.
Lose belly fat rule # 2 - Ditch the junk food
Like alcohol junk food calories are seen, somewhat, as dead calories. They typically don't carry the best balanced nutritional values. However, what they lack in nutrition they soon make up with in fat. Per gram fat carries 9 calories compared to 4 calories per gram of carbohydrates and protein. That means eating the equivilent amount of fat in weight terms to a carbs or protein rich food wil add more than twice the amount of weight to the body, namely belly fat.
Thus, in order to lose stomach fat you should aim to eat only a little fat per day and even then, these fats should come from protein rich foods like nuts and seeds rather than high fat cheese or fatty red meat.
But with junk food that is only half the story. Many junk foods contain refined carbs and high levels of sugar as well as fat. That means that these quickly digested carbohydrates quickly raise blood sugar levels which in turn elevate insulin levels which have a detrimental affect on the body's ability to burn excess fat - making the task of losing stomach fat extremely difficult, if not impossible.
Lose belly fat rule # 3 - Avoid late night snacks
The main issue concerning eating late at night is that not much activity is done after eating. This means that the food is digested and then becomes a source of energy that isn't needed because you're asleep. So what happens? yep, you guessed it ... it becomes excess calories that are simply converted into fat stores around the body. In order to lose belly fat you should be aiming to create a calorie deficit (more calories burnt than are consumed). Eating late at night may have a negative effect on this goal.
Lose belly fat rule # 4 - Not all carbs are created equal
Carbohydrates are foods which, when fully digested, increase the level of blood sugar, a good source of energy for activity and mental processes.
However, some carb rich foods - white bread, white pasta, cakes, sweets, buscuits etc - rapidly increase blood sugar levels to point which saturates that blood with readily available source of energy, too much so that any excess energy is converted in stomach fat.
In order to lose staomach fat whilst eating carbohydrate foods you should look to eat healthier forms of carbs, including porridge oats, ganary bread, wholemeal pasta, fruit, vegetables and other more naturally created carbs. These foods' like their refined carb cousins, increase blood sugar levels, yet because the longer process of digestion with these foods (lower Glycemic Index scores), the rise in blood sugar levels is a lot less steep, meaning the energy gained from these food is less likely to be stored as stomach fat.
To learn more about the effect of carbohydrates on blood sugar levels read about the Glycemic Index Diet and take the What is the Glycemic Index? quiz and the carbs and sugar quiz.
Lose belly fat rule # 5 - Exercise
As previously stated to lose belly fat requires that their are more calories burnt during a day than are consumed. Sure one simply way is to eat less - eating less means less calories consumed, ergo you lose belly fat.
One other simply way to create a calorie deficit is to do more activity, therefore burning more calories during the day.
In fact studies into weight loss and fat loss show that people who exercise and have a calorie controlled diet lose more weight than people who simply either diet or exercise. Increasing levels of exercise and reducing calories eaten means that the energy required to exercise and go about your daily business as normal will being to come from belly fat and other pockets of excess fat around the body.
As a rule of thumb aim to exercise at least 3 times a week for 30 to 60 minutes. This can include resistance training and cardiovascular exercise. To gain more knowledge about incorporating exercise into your day read How much exercise should I do?, Why diets don't work and The 3 best ways to improve cardio fitness.
Lose belly fat rule # 6 - Six pack exercises
In order to create a lean flat stomach you should aim to perform a number of abdominal exercises 2 to 3 times a week.
Understand though that performing ab exercises will not, I repeat WILL NOT, help you lose belly fat. Only burning away excess stomach fat using a calorie controlled diet and prolonged sessions of exercise will help you do this. But abdominal exercise will help you create a well-defined, strong and supportive six pack, which once the belly fat has been removed will look athletic, muscular and sexy.
In order to create a six pack read Build the perfect six pack and take a look at the ab exercise video demos in our exercise library section.
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