Belly fat can make your jeans feel extra snug, but really there’s something way worse about the stuff: When white fat expands in your abdomen nestling deep among your organs, it sets you up for some serious health trouble.
We know that this type of fat—called visceral fat—churns out stress hormones like cortisol and inflammatory substances called cytokines that affect the body’s production of insulin.
The result: Besides obesity, you’re also looking at increased risks of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. If that sounds awful to you, then it’s time to step up and do something about it – check out these 9 tips to finally rid your body of that excess stomach fat.
1. Always Be Moving
There’s one thing to like about visceral fat: It yields fairly easily to aerobic exercise. Running, biking, or swimming—basically anything that gets your heart rate up—wins over resistance training when it comes to getting rid of the stuff. A recent study from Duke University found that jogging the equivalent of 12 miles a week is enough to melt belly fat.
2. Protein, Protein and More Protein
You know that protein’s essential for a slimmer you. But here’s why protein really needs to play a prime roll on your plate: Your body starts to produce more insulin as you age, since your muscle and fat cells aren’t responding to it properly. Insulin promotes fat storage—especially around your belly—and a diet high in protein may protect you against insulin resistance. In a recent study, obese women who followed a diet for eight weeks that was roughly 30 perecent protein, 40 percent carbs, and 30 percent fat lost significantly more fat—including visceral pudge—than women who stuck to a plan that was 16 percent protein, 55 percent carbs, and 26 percent fat.
3. Polyunsaturates are Your Friends
Saturated fat packs on more visceral fat than polyunsaturated ones, according to a recent Swedish study. When subjects ate 750 more calories daily for seven weeks—either in the form of palm oil (saturated) or sunflower oil (polyunsaturated)—the former gained more visceral fat while the latter gained more muscle mass and less body fat. Polyunsaturated fats can be found in nuts, seeds, and fish.
4. Stock Up On Vinegar
Obese people who consumed a tablespoon or two of vinegar daily for eight weeks showed significant decreases in body fat—particularly visceral fat—according to a 2009 Japanese study. One theory is that the acetic acid in the vinegar produces proteins that burn up fat.
5. Yoga Is Not Only For Flexibility
Postmenopausal women who tried yoga for 16 weeks reported significant reductions in visceral fat in one 2012 study. If you’re just not that into downward dog, any sort of relaxation exercise (even simple deep breathing) can help. The key is to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is linked to belly fat.
6. Get More Quality Sleep
Routinely squeaking by on five hours or less per night increases visceral fat levels, according to a recent Wake Forest University study. As you likely already know, eight hours is ideal.
7. But Please Do Not Oversleep On Weekends
Women who wake up and go to bed at the same time each evening have lower levels of body fat, according to a recent Brigham Young University study. Chaotic sleep habits cause your internal clock to go haywire, which in turn causes your body to secrete fat-storing hormones like cortisol.
8. Drink Green Tea
Moderate exercisers who stocked up on the antioxidants found in green tea—called catechins—were more likely to lose abdominal fat while exercising than those who didn’t take them. One study put the daily dose at 625 mg—the equivalent of two or three eight-ounce cups of green tea.
9. Eat More Fiber
In a recently completed study that spanned over 5 years, subjects who increased their soluble fiber intake by 10 grams a day—the equivalent of two small apples, one cup of green peas, and one half-cup of pinto beans—reduced visceral fat by 3.7 percent after five years.
10. Try the 2-Week Diet
If you are really determined to lose weight this year—for good—and you prefer a structured plan to jumpstart your weight loss journey, you need to check out the 2-Week Diet program.
The 2-Week Diet program has very similar eating and lifestyle principles to what my still slim great-grandfather adheres to.
It is created by Brian Flatt, fitness trainer to the celebrities.
At the onset, you may think because of the name, the 2-Week Diet is a quick fix and a fad diet. But that is where everyone gets it wrong. And I wouldn’t recommend these quick fixes.
With the 2-Week Diet, there are no “gimmicks” or “tricks”. You lose weight by learning to use your body’s own natural hormones and bio-chemistry. Your body is then conditioned to naturally jumpstart your metabolism and you’ll burn more fat at rest.
The 2-Week diet does not add more stress to your life with grueling cardio sessions and endless gym time. It does not force you to cut out carbs or fat completely, or starve yourself and make you feel miserable.
With the 2-Week Diet, you follow a specific meal plan for 14 days with a list of foods that you should eat more of and foods that you should avoid. You can even continue to eat the foods you love (think ice-cream and chocolate cake), although it is not recommended that you binge on them.
Women who have been on the 2-Week Diet have reportedly lost up to 20 pounds in the first 14 days, and have continued to lose up to 37 pounds in a month.
If you’re a woman who have struggled to lose weight in the past, I urge you to give yourself a chance to transform your health and body in the next 14 days with the 2 Week Diet. Click here to read about how my friend Beth, a secret eater who’s struggled with losing weight all her life lost 63 pounds by following the 2 Week Diet.