I would like to start by saying that your body is amazing just the way it is, and you do not have to lose or gain weight for anyone. That being said, I have struggled with lower abdominal fat ever since I went to college and stopped playing high school sports. I guess the lack of cardio caught up to me, and I’m just not the kind of person that will go on runs every day in addition to moderate exercise. So I made these minor diet changes to lose the stubborn fat.
Belly fat cannot be fixed by exercise alone. If you’re holding on to extra abdominal fat. You aren’t going to lose it by doing crunches or planks. Unless you’re doing a crazy amount of cardio, you are gonna have to make some changes to your diet.
In fact, most people don’t know this, but about 70% of weight loss can be attributed to diet changes, rather than exercise. I am in no way saying that exercise is not important, but in the case of weight loss, diet is just a little bit more important.
I know it sucks, and it is very hard to turn away chocolate cake, but moderation is key here. I am not telling you that you cannot eat the things that you want, but I am telling you that you will have to be willing to eat things that you don’t necessarily want. Of course, the longer you are sticking to a healthier diet, the easier it will be.
I will be recommending a few tips to change your diet and lose that stubborn belly fat that hangs onto us all, but first I want to talk about why this type of fat is notoriously hard to lose, and why moderation will be your key to eating towards the body you want.
stubborn belly fat
This is the area usually under the belly button that tends to store a disproportionate amount of fat. It is also sometimes referred to as a FUPA or a pouch, and it can cause a lot of body image issues just because it is highly discussed and not usually seen on models or the typical standard of beauty.
It is usually caused by a combination of poor diet, lack of exercise, and fat-stored hormones. The reason it is deemed stubborn is that typically it is the last of the visible fat to go. This tends to be because even if this area can be toned quite nicely with exercise, you have to actually be in a calorie deficit to see the abdominal muscles under the fat layer that sits on top of them.
This is why it can be very frustrating to have lost weight and still see fat in this area. But it can be fixed, and here’s how:
moderation is key
You can continue to eat the foods you know and love, but limiting processed food and carbs will help you to see results quicker.
I myself follow the 80:20 rule, meaning that about 80% of my diet is whole foods. Whole foods mean any food that is not processed into another product. This includes meat, eggs, fruits, vegetables, rice, oats, popcorn, and much more. This helps to keep the foods you eat simple while encouraging the consumption of fruits and veggies, which are super important to get all of your vitamins in.
The other 20% of my diet is things like cookies (like my strawberries and cream thumbprint cookies), pancakes, cheese, and pasta. I still eat these things because I don’t want to make myself miserable or feel like I am being restricted. When you are feeling restricted, you are more likely to binge eat later, and this is an activity we want to avoid when we’re trying to shed fat.
Think of processed foods as treats, and whole foods as fuel for your body. The more fuel you get, the better you will feel physical, but we’d all like the occasional treat so that we feel better emotionally.
It’s easy to get lost in carbs. Most carby, processed foods are scientifically designed with the right amounts of sugar, fat, and salt to make you crave more. This is why we want to avoid carbs at all costs.
Like I mentioned earlier, if you want a defined stomach, you will have to be at a calorie deficit, or at the very least an exact calorie balance. Meaning that the food you consume must be equal to or slightly lower than the calories you burn. This can be difficult but is much easier when you limit carbs.
Carbs raise your blood sugar, and enlist a hormone called insulin to bring your blood sugar back down to normal. Insulin is a fat-storing hormone, meaning that if you don’t use the sugar you put into your body for energy, insulin will store it as fat.
The more insulin you have in your body, increased by continuous consumption of carbs, the less likely your body will break down fat stores for energy, which is how you lose weight.
So, to make your body need to use this stored fat, you will have to limit the number of carbs you eat in order to retrain your body to use your stored fat for energy rather than the carbs you are eating.
Protein is great to eat while you are trying to lose weight because it is low in calories at about 4 calories per gram of protein. It is essential however to choose lean meats because the more fat, the higher the calories.
Protein will help your body to build muscles. In this case, the abdominal muscles under the fat will benefit from protein as it will help them to grow and repair. Growth and repair of muscles do require energy and can, in turn, raise your metabolism slightly. This is one of the reasons why the ketogenic diet is so popular.
Protein also works to keep you feeling full longer. Eating protein for breakfast is especially useful because you will be less tempted to eat large meals later in the day. This also means that increasing protein can reduce the number of cravings you have throughout the day.
water and acid
Speaking of metabolism, this next tip is used quite often for keeping the metabolism fast. Water and acid might sound a little bit odd at first, but it is actually a relatively common practice.
Apple cider vinegar or lemon is the acid that I would recommend. Acids work to speed up your metabolism by encouraging your body to burn stored fat before any other form of energy. Lemons contain citric acid and apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid. Both of these acids are relatively weak and I do not recommend consuming acids any stronger than these for the health of your teeth and digestive system.
Water speeds up the metabolism by flushing out toxins and speeding up digestive processes. The mechanical process of converting water to urine also burns calories meaning that your overall calorie output will increase.
Drinking water with apple cider vinegar or lemon first thing in the morning will jump-start your metabolism and can also help you to feel more energized, in turn getting more movement throughout the day.