Obesity is a growing problem in the United States. The latest studies reveal that in at least seven U.S. states, the obesity rate is 35% or higher. The obesity rate for most states is around 30% which is high.
These stats are alarming in light of the health problems obesity causes. Having a lot of belly fat translates to a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes. Obesity also leads to high blood pressure and diabetes.
A waistline bigger than 35 inches for a woman (40 inches for a man) is abdominal obesity.
Are you trying to turn that stubborn belly fat into a six pack? Take a look at these tips, foods, and exercises for the top 10 ways to melt belly fat.
Eat More Soluble Fiber
Soluble fiber combines with water and forms a gel inside your gut. This gel slows movement, digestion, and absorption of nutrients into your system. This gives you a full feeling for a long time after eating the fiber.
That feeling of fullness reduces your appetite.
One five-year study revealed an almost 4% reduction in abdominal fat when participants ate 10 grams of soluble fiber daily.
What types of food contain soluble fiber? Vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole oats.
Hanging Knee Raises
If you’re after that six-pack, exercise is a must. Some exercises are better than others when it comes to losing belly fat.
Your abdomen is made up of several groups of muscles.
Doing sit-ups alone won’t give you a six-pack. A much better ab builder is the hanging knee raise. Hanging knee raises offer several benefits. Find out more here.
Eat More Protein
Protein is an important macronutrient. Adding more protein to your diet helps you lose belly fat and avoid regaining it. Aim at making protein 25-30% of your total calorie intake.
What foods are high in protein? Fish, seafood, and meat are high in protein. Whole eggs are another good source of protein. Other good protein sources are dairy products, legumes, and nuts.
Cortisol is your body’s stress hormone. It’s also known as the “flight or fight” hormone.
It’s involved with many of your body’s systems, such as sleep and blood pressure. When you’re under prolonged amounts of stress, your body produces too much cortisol which isn’t healthy.
Too much cortisol in the body has negative side effects, one of which is weight gain.
While it’s impossible to avoid all stress, keep your stress to a minimum. Practice mindfulness techniques like meditation to help reduce stress. Your mental health is as important as your physical health.
Avoid Sugar in All Forms
Sugar is harmful to your metabolic health. Sugar can even cause fatty liver disease. When you eat anything, your body releases insulin into the bloodstream. But sugar causes your body to release high amounts of insulin.
The more insulin in the system, the more your cells become insulin resistant. This leads to difficulty shedding fat. It also leads to adult-onset diabetes. The less sugar you eat the better.
Toss out the soda, fruit juices, and sugary sports drinks. Your body doesn’t need them, and they are dangerous to your health.
Avoid all processed foods which are high in salt and sugar.
Watch the Carbs
Reduce your appetite by cutting carbohydrates. This helps melt belly fat. Cutting carbs from your diet is an easy change. Avoid sugar, white bread, candy, and white rice.
After a few days without carbs, your body adjusts and you’re less hungry.
If you can’t go without your daily sandwich, substitute sprouted bread for wheat or white bread.
Pay Attention to Your Alcohol Intake
You don’t need to give alcohol up completely but watch your intake. High consumption of alcohol has many negative health benefits, including increased belly fat.
Don’t drink more than one drink per day.
Get Enough Quality Sleep
Lack of sleep leads to increased cortisol levels. As discussed above, increased cortisol levels cause weight gain.
Aim for at least seven hours of quality sleep per night. Try to go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning.
Turn off all social media, computer screens, and the TV at least one hour before going to bed. This helps the brain ready itself for sleep.
Consider Intermittent Fasting (IF)
Intermittent fasting doesn’t mean you won’t eat! It means you lessen the window of time in which you consume food. There are many different types of IF, so you can find one that works for you.
Start easy with a 16-hour fast. After dinner, don’t eat again for 16 hours. When you do eat, keep your eating within an 8-hour window. If you stop eating dinner by 7 pm, don’t eat again until 11 a.m. the next day.
The cereal companies tell us that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But eating a 500-calorie bowl of sugary cereal won’t help you melt belly fat!
Pumping Iron and HIIT
There are lots of misconceptions about lifting weights. Some women are afraid of gaining too much bulk. But this is a myth.
Strength training maintains and builds muscle mass. Muscles burn more calories than fat tissue. It’s tough for women to build enough muscle mass to look “bulky.” Toned muscles make a person appear slimmer!
Another great exercise is HIIT – high-intensity interval training. HIIT workouts torch fat. One minute of high-intensity exercise has results equivalent to an hour of a slow-paced workout.
That doesn’t mean you only work out for one minute!
But it does mean that a 20-minute high-intensity workout is better than an hour of less-intense exercise. No more excuses that you don’t have enough time to work out.
Know You Know How to Melt Belly Fat!
Melt belly fat and you’ll look and feel better.
That pesky abdominal fat leads to increased heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes. Don’t let these risks continue.
But don’t try to make all these changes at once. Pick a couple of changes to start. Do you consume soda every day? Stop drinking it. You’ll not only save your health, but you’ll also save money.
As you feel better and see changes, you’ll be motivated to keep going. Your body will thank you with better health and a longer lifespan.
Looking for more healthcare tips? Peruse our blog.