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Have you been searching for how to finally get that six pack for summer? Well, this post is not going to tell you how to get that. However, I am going to share with you some things that I haven’t seen written about. This isn’t another “eat less calories than you burn and you’ll lose weight” kind of article, sorry. I’m working on putting together more concise articles that provide valuable information that aim to look at the science and mechanics of how it works, as opposed to being just another person who says “eat healthy, exercise, sleep, stress is bad for weight.”
So, here we go 🙂 This is something I have struggled with for several years! And that is getting a flat toned stomach without completely starving myself, especially that lower part, right below my bellybutton. Anyone else seem to have this problem? I have learned a few things so today I will answer your question of what the best way to lose belly fat is and how to keep it off for good!
Understanding How Fat Loss Actually Works
It’s important to note that this article is referring to FAT loss, not WEIGHT loss. And you have to have a basic understanding of how fat loss works in order to know how to tackle the belly fat.
Weight is just a number that describes your relationship to gravity at any given time. That number you see on the scale is going to show you muscle mass, fat, any water retention, bloating, inflammation, or whether you recently had a meal. Often, when someone starts to make a change in their life through diet and exercise and seemingly lose 10 lbs in a week, it’s typically water weight, which has been retained in the body, or loss of muscle mass from doing too much cardio and no strength training.
Fat loss is more complex. A lot of articles will tell you to just eat less and burn off more calories than you eat, without explaining how to lose fat and keep it off for good. Losing fat though, is a slower process than just losing weight, that occurs over time. It’s not a linear process.
- Fat is stored when we eat too many carbs, fat or protein at a given time. Our body uses what it needs, the rest is stored as fat.
- Fat is accumulated over time through the overconsumption of simple carbohydrates (discussed below)
Fat loss occurs when we are properly portioning our servings, not going crazy on white pasta, white bread, and cake. It is only through consistency that we will see a decline in fat. You won’t gain weight overnight if you overindulge (pfft I’ve been there, done that, gone multiple TShirts), but it will pause the fat loss. It’s near impossible to completely cut simple carbs out or not enjoy a nice dinner or two wherever we eat way too much. It’s life. Don’t stop enjoying life. Just know you can easily get back on track and through consistency you’ll see results again. You might just experience a few pauses here and there.
Visceral vs Subcutaneous Fat
When it comes to losing belly fat, there are two types of fat we want to target, visceral and subcutaneous.
Visceral Fat is the fat you can see or feel, it’s stored in the abdominal cavity and surrounds several vital organs. This fat develops over time and becomes harder to lose. It is correlated with insulin resistance (see below on “Why we really get fat”). This fat is lost mostly through nutrition changes and some exercise. We see the most notable health changes from losing this type of fat, such as lower risk for cardiovascular disease, lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, etc.
Subcutaneous Fat is the pinchable fat that you can visibly see. This fat is the storage house for energy.
Why Does Waist Circumference Matter?
The waist circumference measurement is a tool used to get a baseline of how much visceral fat one is holding. HINT: When you notice you are not losing pounds, but you are losing an inch or two off the waist, it’s a good indicator you are losing the visceral fat.
You measure your waist at it’s smallest part, typically above the bellybutton. You are at higher risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other disease if, as a male, you’re waist circumference is >40 inches and, as a female, it’s >35 inches.
I’d say to use this as a baseline
Why We Really Get Fat (And It’s Not Always Due To Eating Too Much)
I have an entire post dedicated to the topic of why I disagree with the calories in/calories out method, but I do want to touch on it here because it’s important to be aware of when you notice yourself having trouble losing that belly fat and keeping it off. It’s assumed that fat exists because we ate too much or went “over our calorie limit.” NOT ALL CALORIES ARE CREATED EQUAL. A gram of Fat is 9 calories while a gram of protein or carbohydrate is 4 calories. So go ahead and try to eat fat all day under your calorie limit and show me how you still lose weight.
The main issue is carbohydrates! Carbs are not created equal! Other trainers, bloggers, coaches will say “oh just limit your carbs.” You actually need carbs to function, especially if you are working out. The quality of carb matters!
Simple Sugars (Carbohydrates to eat sparingly)
- Sugar (all that cake, donuts, things that taste super good)
- White Bread
- White Rice
- White Pasta
- White Potatoes
Complex Carbohydrates (Incorporate these in your diet)
- Whole Grain Pasta
- Whole Grain Bread
- Whole Wheat Bread
- Sweet Potatoes
- Chia Seeds
Simple Carbs have been overly processed, the grain has been stripped away depriving it of it’s nutrients and vitamins They will spike your insulin levels immediately. Complex Carbs have not been processed, they take longer to digest and are slowly released into the bloodstream, not spiking your insulin levels.
If you are continually eating simple carbs/sugars, you are basically keeping your insulin levels elevated. When your insulin levels are chronically elevated, fat accumulates in the fat tissue.
Insulin is the principle regulator of fat metabolism.
I was introduced to this topic from Gary Taubes, who challenges the calorie in/calorie out method. And I gotta say, it seems to hold pretty true for me. I notice I have a harder time managing my weight when I’m eat simple carbs a few times a week as opposed to when I am eating complex carbs. I burn more fat when I am consistent in eating complex carbs and I am not restricting my calories at all.
Like I said, this was just meant to get you familiar with this idea. I will be going more in depth in a future post.
Top Three Ab Moves Promoting Fat Burn….That Don’t Include Sit Ups!
- Plank. The plank is actually a great full body move because it requires you to use all your stabilizer muscles (shoulders) to hold a position in keeping the core tight. You can start on your knees and work your way up to your toes. And just see how long you can hold it. I am up to 2 minutes!! What I like about the plank is it utilizes the entire core, including the lower back.
- Kettlebell Swing. This explosive move involves the hips and can really get your h
eart rate going!. You might not feel the abs being used, but they are!
Proven Products That Blast Belly Fat
Below are a few products I do highly recommend for anyone who is having trouble with that last little bit of fat. These are not to be used as a quick fix or if you are lookin for a magic overnight solution. These are NOT weight loss products. Any time you are trying to lose weight, you should always focus on diet and exercise first. However, if you are fairly active and do watch what you eat, then these will help with those stubborn areas that don’t seem to budge.
- Isavera Fat Freezing System. Fat freezing is still a fairly new concept. For years it was thought that the actual fat cells couldn’t be destroyed, what changes is the size of the fat cell. They shrink when we burn fat. Fat freezing suggest that we can freeze fat cell through a process called cryolypolysis. The cell starts to crystalize and over the next few weeks is excreted from your body. I personally use this product on my stubborn outer thighs and I tend to notice differences after 4 weeks of use. Drink plenty of water as that helps the dead fat cells leave the body. I love this product.
- Sweet Sweat Waist Trimmer.This is good for two things! Getting a good sweat on during a workout and increasing your body temperature to induce thermogenesis (That’s essentially what fat burning pills claim to do.) Sweet Sweat is a higher quality brand and it works! With or without the gel, you’ll start to see some lost inches in a couple weeks.
Don’t Forget to Enjoy Your Life
Some people like to look for certain superfoods that can assist with fat burning better than others. When it comes to losing belly fat and keeping it off for good, you want to stay away from process carbohydrates and sugar as much as possible. That doesn’t mean giving it up forever or missing out on birthday cake, but it does mean making some changes that includes giving your body what it needs to function. Add more vegetables in and go for whole grain where possible!
Don’t forget to enjoy your life too!
If you’d like some more information, download my FREE guide on the difference between simple and complex carbs! Totally FREE for YOU!