While it is easy to gain weight around the midsection, it is also the toughest area to trim down. Many people try to lose belly fat by performing endless of crunches, sit-ups and other ab exercises. They are not aware that these exercises are ineffective for getting rid of abdominal fat.
If you want lean abs, you’ll need to reduce body fat by making some lifestyle changes. Here are 5 tips on how to lose belly fat without doing crunches and sit-ups.
1. Stay active
Regular exercise is necessary to help you lose belly fat. Your workout program should include a combination of cardiovascular exercise and resistance training.
Apart from exercise, you can increase your daily activity levels by walking your dog, using the stairs or parking your car further from your destination. Being active helps to raise your metabolism so you burn more calories and achieve faster fat loss results.
2. Drink more water
When your body is dehydrated, you may not be able to tell the difference between thirst and hunger. Your body’s need for water may be mistaken as craving for food, so you end up eating more.
Water is essential for increasing your metabolic rate. When you are dehydrated, your body slows down and your performance is adversely affected. Water keeps you energised and your appetite in check.
3. Avoid fad diets
Most fad diets are too restrictive. They tend to focus on one food group or macronutrient. It’s not wise to cut out any food group as your body needs all of them for optimum health.
These diets are often not sustainable, which is why people hop from one fad diet to another. Some may get bored with eating the same foods or develop cravings. Fad diets are definitely the wrong way to go about when trying to lose belly fat.
Aim to consume a balanced diet of mainly fresh, unprocessed foods. Avoid trans fats, high fructose corn syrup and refined carbohydrates as these are known to cause weight gain and other health problems.
4. Get enough sleep
Adequate sleep is an often ignored step on the road to better health. Busier lives mean more people are getting by on less sleep. Research has shown that lack of sleep causes weight gain, through its adverse effects on certain hormones. Your body tends to store belly fat due to elevated levels of cortisol and insulin.
Insufficient sleep also increases your appetite and cravings for carbohydrates. By being awake longer, you are likely to eat more meals.
If you want to lose belly fat, make sure you are getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
5. Reduce stress
Stress affects the level of body fat in a number of ways. It increases the levels of cortisol hormone that prevents you from losing belly fat.
In times of stress, comfort eating as a coping mechanism can lead to weight gain. This is due to overeating foods that are high in sugar or fat.
Stress may also cause some people to lose motivation and stop exercising.
Some of the ways to relieve stress include meditation, tai chi, exercise or taking a walk.
It takes time to lose belly fat but with patience and commitment, it can be done. For toning and strengthening your core, check out: Ab Exercises That Really Work