In my earlier post “How to lose belly fat in men-the stress factor”, I wrote about how stress can cause you to accumulate belly fat and gain weight. Even though the title made it seem like the post was only targeted at men, both men and women are affected by stress and can gain weight through that, but fat is distributed differently in men than in women. Men tend to store excess fat in the abdominal region, and hence struggle more with belly fat than women. This post is about how to lose belly fat in women (some of the tips apply to men too). So after reading the post about stress and taking the necessary precautions to limit the contribution of stress to accumulation of belly fat and weight gain, read on to find out what else you can do to lose belly fat.
As I mentioned in my earlier post, which can be found here, women tend to store fat in their lower abdomen, thighs, buttocks and hips. The fat needed for pregnancy and nursing is stored in a woman’s thighs. Additionally, women store more fat under the skin, this acts as a layer of insulation and also accounts for the soft curves. In fact, fat is used more efficiently in a woman’s body than that of a man, and hence, women actually burn fat more efficiently. Which is to say that even though women carry more percentage of fat on their body, they are able to better manage it than men.
So here are 7 things you can do if you’re a woman trying to lose belly fat;
- Exercise regularly; whiles this may sound obvious, you actually burn fat more efficiently through exercise. And there’s one thing about visceral fat, it yields relatively easily to aerobic exercise. So choose any exercise that works for you, you don’t have to necessarily go to the gym. Jogging, swimming, dancing, basically anything that gets your heart rate up ( not stress or fear though..Lol). An interesting fact is that, even though women store more fat, they are able to lose more easily too. Women lose fat better through exercise than diet, the opposite being true for men. Another fact is that, even though it is not possible to target weight loss in just one part of the body, but as i mentioned in the beginning, belly fat is highly responsive to exercise.
- Take some vinegar; according to a Japanese study, 15ml of vinegar per day is enough to significantly improve your body-fat percentage, waist circumference, visceral body-fat, waist-hip ratio and subcutaneous fat. According to the study, acetic acid found in vinegar is effective in suppressing body fat accumulation. So try and take in some vinegar daily.
- Get enough sleep; getting only about 4 or 5 hours of sleep causes your body to produce higher amounts of the stress hormone cortisol, which can lead to weight gain. “It’s not so much that if you sleep, you will lose weight, but if you are sleep-deprived, meaning that you are not getting enough minutes of sleep or good quality sleep, your metabolism will not function properly,” explains Michael Breus, PhD, author of Beauty and sleep and the clinical director of the sleep division for Arrowhead Health in Glendale, Ariz.
- Drink enough water; drinking the recommended 8 glasses of water daily will help your body flush out toxins and excess water, causing you to de-bloat and help your body run more efficiently. There are other very important reasons for drinking enough water daily which you can find in my previous post “10 Incredible reasons why you should drink more water”
- Eat more Protein; protein plays a very important role in weight loss and maintenance. Protein helps increase theamount of energy you expend, and also helps you fight off hunger. But you also have to be careful the kind of protein you go in for; go for lean protein over high fat ones. Lean protein include meat, fish, chicken, eggs, dairy, beans, soy foods, nuts and seeds. In one study, obese women who followed a diet for eight weeks that was roughly 30 percent protein, 40 percent carbs, and 30 percent fat, lost significantly more fat (including visceral), than women who stuck to a plan that was 16 percent protein, 55 percent carbs, and 26 percent fat.
- Watch which fat you eat; trying to lose belly fat doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat fat at all. There is ‘good’ fat and ‘bad’ fat. In a Swedish study, it was found that saturated fats (butter, bacon drippings, lard, palm oil, and coconut oil) resulted in the more visceral fat than polyunsaturated fats. So your aim is to consume polyunsaturated fats, these can be found in seeds, nuts and fish. Also, avoid trans fat, found in cakes, pies, biscuits, margarine, crackers, doughnuts. I know this sounds almost impossible to do. But trans fat seriously hampers your efforts at losing belly fat, and has even been linked to inflammation, heart disease and abdominal fat gain in observational and animal studies. Fish oil is the best source of fat to lose your belly fat.
- Have a consistent sleep pattern (Don’t oversleep on weekends..Lol); According to a study done at the Brigham Young University, women who wake up and go to bed at the same time each evening have lower levels of body fat. Irregular sleep habits messes with your internal clock, this then causes your body to secrete fat-storing hormones like cortisol.
I will be going into details about the exercises and foods that can best help in losing belly fat in my subsequent posts.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can. I would love to have your feedback too, let me know what you think about the post.