Unless you’re Santa Claus, the last thing you probably want heading into the holiday season is a so-called ‘jelly belly.’ Apart from the fact that you may not feel or look your best when you’re carrying around extra weight, excess belly fat can also be incredibly dangerous.
Extra fat in your midsection can pose serious risks to your overall health and wellness, including heightening your risk of high blood pressure, liver and kidney issues, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, according to research. Being proactive about learning the right exercise regimen, eating habits, and daily lifestyle changes you need to make can help you avoid accumulating extra inches around your belly. Fortunately, Eat This, Not That! is here to help you avoid the jiggle.
6 Expert Tips To Avoid Belly Fat
We spoke with Ronny Garcia, CPT, Blink Fitness, who shares some of his best expert tips for avoiding belly fat. Keep reading to learn Garcia’s top tips to avoid belly fat, and when you’re done, be sure to check out the 20 Best Weight Loss Secrets, According to Experts.
Cardio works wonders for burning calories, which will lower your overall body fat. Garcia recommends getting in 75 to 150 minutes of cardio on a weekly basis. You can accomplish this by running, walking, swimming, cycling, or even plogging! Not only will you torch fat, but it can be lots of fun. And if you’re ever in need of some inspiration, TikTok is an excellent resource, as the platform is always serving up new fitness trends and challenges, like the “50-mile-month” walking challenge, which is a seamless way to get fit.
When you work on building muscle, you beef up your resting metabolic rate, which helps you burn calories. There’s a common misconception that strength training and lifting weights will make you look bulky, and when you’re looking to lose weight, you probably don’t want to feel (or look) bigger. But that is simply not the case, as strength training is a crucial part of any successful weight loss journey. According to Garcia, you should do strength training two to three times each week. You’ve got this!
An effective strategy to lose belly fat requires a focus on both diet and exercise. Sticking with a nutritious, well-balanced diet can be quite challenging, but it’s crucial to eliminate or keep your intake of sugar-packed drinks and ultra-processed foods super low. Garcia recommends replacing these not-so-healthy items with whole grains, healthy fats, lean protein, veggies, and fruit.
You absolutely don’t want to eat too little (which can lead to cravings and overeating later in the day), but if you’re not practicing portion control, there’s a chance you’re actually feeding your body way more than it needs to convert into energy. A few helpful tricks for portion control include using a smaller plate and getting into the habit of waiting a little while after a smaller meal to see if you still feel hungry. It’s also important to make sure that every meal has a good amount of protein and fiber to keep you feeling fuller for longer periods of time.
“Did you know that sometimes thirst can be mistaken for hunger?” asks Garcia. It’s true: Sometimes when you think you’re feeling hungry, you’re really just thirsty. So make sure you drink enough water throughout the day, as this is another important step in any attempt to lose belly fat. If you’re someone who usually forgets to fill up your glass, consider investing in a water bottle that reminds you when you need a refill.
This tip may seem pretty anticlimactic. After all, aren’t you supposed to boost your activity level? Well, yes, but you also want to carve out enough time to get a restful sleep each night so your body can recover and repair. Shoot for seven to nine hours of shuteye each night so you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day. “Poor sleep patterns can result in increased cravings for unhealthy foods,” says Garcia.