Visceral fat, commonly known as belly fat, is the layer of fat below the muscles of your abdomen. Due to its crucial location surrounding many of your vital organs, belly fat supplies a constant source of energy but also exposes the body to harmful toxins and hormones. When you have too many fat cells or your fat cells get too large, they can overproduce toxins that increase your risk for chronic inflammation, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. This is why belly fat can be more dangerous than subcutaneous fat—or the outer layer of fat that you can pinch with your fingers. That said, the reason you're having trouble buttoning your pants may not be visceral fat: what we're calling "belly fat" these days could be bloating or water retention rather than a fat buildup. Read on for steps you can take to beat the bulge.
Don’t let extra hours lounging in bed stand between you and a flatter belly. While getting enough sleep can help boost your metabolic rate, sleeping in may undo any benefit you’d enjoy from catching a few extra winks. One study reveals that late sleepers who snoozed past 10:45 in the morning ate nearly 250 more calories over the course of the day, despite eating half as many fruits and vegetables as their early bird counterparts. Even worse, they chowed down on more salty, sugary, and trans fat-laden fast food than those who woke up earlier. If you happen to head out of the house early, you’re in for an additional metabolic boost; researchers at Northwestern University have found that people exposed to just a short period of early morning sunlight had lower BMIs than their late-waking counterparts.
We use tofu, tempeh, edamame – all of which have a lower carb content. Small quantities of beans and legumes as these are also higher in carbs. Plus the addition of nuts, seeds, eggs and that sort of thing. The end result is usually a similar carb content to the meat recipes overall. And as a meal plans member, you can access both plans without having to choose, which basically just gives you more meal options to choose from.
Fiber expands in your stomach and also takes time to digest, both of which help keep you feeling full for longer. Good sources include whole grains, veggies, and whole fruit (not juiced). Healthy fats like olive and nut oils—in moderation—improve flavor, give you energy, and help your body use certain nutrients. Alexandra Shipper added healthy fats, such as avocado, to protein sources like eggs and fish on her way to dropping 55 pounds.
If you haven't been able to lose your belly fat on your own, we've asked experts to share the tips and advice they use with clients to help them lose belly fat for good. Vermont-based registered dietitian and nutritionist Maddie Kinzly, MS, LD, told POPSUGAR that while you can't choose where on your body you gain or lose fat (sorry, boobs!), some people are more predisposed to holding weight in their bellies.
Want a flatter stomach in two seconds? Stand up straight! Slouching emphasizes belly rolls but straightening your spine elongates your whole body, making you look taller and sleeker. Want to go even flatter for a picture? Use the old modeling trick and arch your back slightly—this will pull your skin tighter across your stomach while moving it farther away from the camera, making it look slightly smaller. Yeah, it’s a temporary fix but good posture offers many health benefits beyond looking good.

I got type 2 diabetes about a year ago. I studied through several diets to see which one would fit my schedule plus get some of this weight off of me. I was more than amazed with the low carb diet. I wasn’t hungry and I lost weight fast. All of my vital blood levels came back very well and my A1C dropped within a few months. I would definitely encourage anyone to at least try the low carb diet.
The most important thing when it comes to weight-loss plans is to view them as a tool rather than a set of restrictions. If you don’t like one of the exercises or want to substitute one ingredient for another, go for it. As soon as a weight-loss plan becomes a weight around your neck, your motivation and dedication will take some serious knocks, so making sure the plan suits you is your best chance of success.
Where commercial weight loss programs go hands-on, the Mayo Clinic Diet goes streamlined. The vibrant, best-selling hardback (that looks a lot like a fun middle school health textbook) is the first resource for diet information, you can also employ the sleekly designed but minimalist app, plus a full website of tips, recipes, and workouts. Those patient enough to cycle through all of Mayo’s resources will find lots of solid health information.

Unfortunately, most nutritional authorities tell you the exact opposite. Eat six times a day. Eat lots of snacks. Eat before you go to bed. Eat, eat, eat – even to lose weight! It sounds pretty stupid, because it is pretty stupid. Instead, it may be better to use intermittent fasting, a dietary technique used successfully for countless generations.


Also, while your menstrual cycle may not affect weight gain or loss, losing or gaining weight can affect your menstrual cycle. Women who lose too much weight or lose weight too quickly may stop having a period, or have irregular periods. Women who have obesity may also have irregular periods. A regular period is a sign of good health. Reaching a healthy weight can help women who have irregular periods to have cycles that are more regular. Learn more in our Menstrual Cycle section.

While you may be tempted to eat as few calories as possible to lose weight more quickly, as mentioned above, it’s important that you don’t cut more than 1,000 calories from your daily diet or eat fewer than 1,200 calories a day — even if that means your energy deficit is smaller than 1,000 calories. Eat too little and you’ll slow down your metabolism and put yourself on track to regain the weight — often with a few extra pounds.
For example, many people who choose to go vegan have already adopted many other healthy lifestyle values such as exercise, stress reduction, not smoking, portion control, etc. Personally, I’ve met very few chain smoking, binge drinking, sedentary vegans. They are often proactive about their health and the well-being of others. If these types of lifestyles were adopted more universally by those consuming animal products, would we see the same results?
Their assumption was that they could eat them in ample supply because there wasn’t any fat in them. Oh and since there is no fat in diet OR regular soda, not to mention sweet tea, Gatorade, or other sugar-laden beverages, these have also been consumed in ample supply. Had more people followed the general principles and kept their carb sources to healthier whole grains and limited portions, perhaps there wouldn’t have been the explosion of obesity we’ve seen since the 80s and 90s.
Close the Kitchen at Night. Establish a time when you will stop eating so you won't give in to the late-night munchies or mindless snacking while watching television. "Have a cup of tea, suck on a piece of hard candy or enjoy a small bowl of light ice cream or frozen yogurt if you want something sweet after dinner, but then brush your teeth so you will be less likely to eat or drink anything else," suggests Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, WebMD's "Recipe Doctor" and the author of Comfort Food Makeovers.

That doesn't mean one type of eating has the edge, however. "I individualize eating plans to allow both men and women to enjoy their preferences for carbs or protein, providing they select the healthy versions," says Tallmadge, who is also a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. Another difference Tallmadge sees in her practice is that women tend to be fairly knowledgeable about food and calories, while the men don't think much about nutrition.


While you may or may not wish to weigh yourself frequently while losing weight, regular monitoring of your weight will be essential to help you maintain your lower weight. When keeping a record of your weight, a graph may be more informative than a list of your weights. When weighing yourself and keeping a weight graph or table, however, remember that one day's diet and exercise patterns won't have a measurable effect on your weight the next day. Today's weight is not a true measure of how well you followed your program yesterday, because your body's water weight will change from day to day, and water changes are often the result of things that have nothing to do with your weight-management efforts.
Basic Principles Simply put, we lose weight if we consume less energy than we use. Energy comes from the food and drink that we eat and is measured in calories (Cals, cals or kcals). Energy is burnt constantly by our bodies, the amount of energy burnt doing a particular activity varies by its intensity. Assuming that your weight is currently stable, your energy-in and energy-out are equal. To lose weight, this equation needs to be unbalanced, so energy-out is greater than energy-in. Naturally, we can achieve this in two ways. We can burn more energy, by doing exercise, or we can consume less energy, by eating fewer calories (note, this need not mean less food by weight or volume). For most people losing weight is roughly a 80:20 diet:exercise split, simply because it's a lot easier to deny yourself a ~300kcal slice of cake than walking 2-3 miles to burn it off. You can lose weight without any exercise whatsoever if you wish, but exercise in itself is very good for you either way. Be Realistic Besides the very basics, you have to be realistic and accept that, if you want to lose weight, you’re going to have to change a few things. Possibly the most important realization is that you need to make a lifestyle change. The majority of people need to change their diet, as opposed to go on a diet; reverting to old habits will see you reverting to old body-weights, too.

But I've seen some women beat themselves up over a few extra pounds, even though this does little more than destroy their self-worth. Berating yourself will not help motivate you to control your weight and improve your health. So the next time those negative thoughts creep into your head, recognize them for what they are and replace them with positive ones.

Chronic stress may increase levels of stress hormones such as cortisol in your body. This can cause increased hunger and result in weight gain. If you’re looking to lose weight, you should review possible ways to decrease or better handle excessive stress in your life. Although this often demands substantial changes, even altering small things – such as posture – may immediately affect your stress hormone levels, and perhaps your weight.

I got type 2 diabetes about a year ago. I studied through several diets to see which one would fit my schedule plus get some of this weight off of me. I was more than amazed with the low carb diet. I wasn’t hungry and I lost weight fast. All of my vital blood levels came back very well and my A1C dropped within a few months. I would definitely encourage anyone to at least try the low carb diet.
The popular "flat belly diets"embrace much of the wisdom found in eating a Mediterranean diet, which helps everything from brain health to hearth health. The basic premise for both diets is eat foods rich in monosaturated fatty acids (MUFA) that may help reduce your belly fat storage. MUFA-rich foods include olive oil, nuts and seeds, avocodos, and fish. Eating yogurt regularly has also been found to be helpful in reducing belly fat.
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