Getting rid of belly fat may be the most common (and the most difficult) concern when it comes to weight loss. A little bit of belly fat can be a good thing; it protects your stomach, intestines, and other internal organs. However, too much belly fat is not healthy and can cause inflammation, and eventually lead to heart disease and diabetes. There are tons of proven ways that you can lose belly fat without having to hit the gym every day, and here we outline our favorites.
Lighten Up on the Salt
While there is nothing wrong with salt per se, too much salt will make you retain more water and cause you to bloat. One of the fastest and easiest ways to lose belly bloat is to cut back on salt. Obesity and sodium have been closely linked, according to multiple studies. If you can’t imagine eating food without any seasoning, try using more pepper than salt when it comes to seasoning your food. You could also try flavoring your food with different spices if you don’t want your meal to lose its flavor.
Cut Back on Beer
Beer is known to cause belly bloat; ever heard the term “beer gut”? The bubbles and sugar from beer are a major cause of belly bloat. An excess of alcohol can also lead to an overgrowth of bad bacteria, which causes gas on top of fat being stored around the stomach. When you drink alcohol, your liver burns alcohol instead of fat, leaving excess fat to hang around your waistline. Beer also has a lot of calories that are very easy to overdo. If you really want to shrink your gut, hold off on chugging too many beers in one sitting.
Stay Away from Sweets
Although sweets are one of the best parts of life, it is best to avoid them if you want to slim down. Sugar, in general, is not very good for our health. The calories from sugary treats add to our waistlines, and on top of that, an excess of sugar leads to insulin resistance. This will signal our bodies to store extra fat around our stomachs. Sugar also causes bloating in the short term by feeding the bad bacteria in your gut. If you absolutely can’t imagine your life without sweets, try eating more natural sugars from fresh fruits.
Check Out Your Hormones
Sometimes your hormones may be out of balance, which causes belly bloat. Bloating is often the number one complaint in women going through menopause. Thyroid issues are often caused by a hormonal imbalance, leading to weight gain around the stomach. High levels of estrogen and low testosterone are also known for causing abdominal fat. If you believe your hormones are out of whack, make an appointment to see you doctor and see if your hormones are in a normal range. In the meantime, eating right and exercising are a natural way to balance your hormones.Related: Thyroid Cancer: Signs and Symptoms
Get More Sleep
Americans are getting less sleep than ever before, and it does take a toll on your health. Sleep is important! We cannot stress enough the importance of sleep when it comes to weight loss, mental health, and overall health. Losing just 30 minutes of sleep can increase your chances of gaining weight that will go straight to your stomach, according to research. The best thing to do is get 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night. Also, research has shown that waking up and going to sleep with the sun goes along with your natural circadian rhythm, and is the most optimal sleep cycle.
Don’t Eat Processed Foods
Processed foods are probably the biggest culprit when it comes to weight gain in America. Processed foods will include tons of salt, often without you knowing it. Salt is added to almost everything from pasta sauce to boxed cake mixes. Processed food also has a ton of empty calories with no nutritional value. Cut back on processed foods if you want to reduce belly fat, and try to eat more fresh fruit and veggies. You will eventually lose the salt bloat, stop consuming empty calories, and lose weight all over.
Water is very important to overall health, but will also help you lose that extra fat around your stomach. Staying hydrated will tell your body it’s okay to release any excess water it is holding, decreasing bloating. Drinking enough water has also been proven to reduce cravings for sweets, lower your appetite, and help you feel full longer. Research shows that drinking a full glass of water before meals helps you eat less. Make sure you are getting enough H2O in your diet if you want to shrink your stomach down and lose fat.
Indulge in Spices
Eating specific spices can have a calming effect on your stomach, leading to better digestion and a flatter belly. Fennel, peppermint, and ginger root have been proven to activate the digestive enzymes in your stomach so that your food will move through your system faster. The faster your food moves through your system, the less fat your stomach will accumulate. In addition to a flatter stomach, these herbs have holistic healing properties; peppermint helps with cramping, ginger helps with nausea, and fennel will stop water retention.Related: 11 Metabolism Boosting Foods and Spices to Add to Water
Take Time to De-stress
When you are stressed, your body produces more cortisol, which is often referred to as the “belly fat” hormone because it signals the body to store fat around the waist. In order to reduce the amount of cortisol your body produces, you have to manage your daily stress levels. Yoga and meditation have been proven to balance your everyday stress. Other low-impact activities such as walking, journaling, and working on a hobby can also maintain healthy stress levels. De-stressing with these activities can help your cortisol hormones stay in check, leading to a flatter stomach.
Increase Your Fiber Intake
Eating fibrous foods is the best way to getting a flat tummy fast. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are high in fiber and have been proven to reduce tummy fat. Research has shown that fibrous foods help flush the digestive tract, which leads to less constipation and therefore flatter stomachs. These foods will also fill you up so you eat less, which can lead to flatter stomachs over time. Make sure you are getting at least 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day if you want to see the best results.
There are countless reasons to quit smoking, but this may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Here’s the truth: smoking is making you fat. Smokers have shown to have a higher concentration of fat around their midsection compared to nonsmokers. Although you won’t necessarily gain weight from smoking, any fat you do have will distribute itself around your midsection. This belly fat will also surround your internal organs and excrete toxic chemicals. So if you want to slim down and finally take charge of your health, take this as a final sign to quit cigarettes once and for all.Related: 8 Bedtime Drinks that Help You Lose Weight