When you look down, can you see your toes? Are you looking at an excessive amount of abdominal fat plaguing your physique? You’re not alone. But that also doesn’t mean it’s ok, healthy, or should be considered a “norm” by today’s standards.
Unfortunately, Americans across the nation are becoming overweight, obese, and sick because they aren’t taking care of their body and health.
You came to this article to find the answer to your abdominal fat woes. Well, I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that this article can definitely help you. The bad news is that you’re going to need to put in the work, be consistent, and stop believing there’s a miracle pill or solution out there to make the process easier – there isn’t.
So, let’s dive into how you can effectively burn off abdominal fat and how long the process should take.
Why is the Accumulation of Abdominal Fat Harmful to Your Health?
Some fat on your body is helpful. For instance, fat helps keep you insulated, protects organs and vital areas of the body, as well as aids in the production and maintenance of hormones. The type of fat that you need to pay close attention to is what’s called visceral fat. Visceral fat is essentially abdominal fat and is considered the most dangerous type of fat you carry around.
This abdominal fat can compromise and disrupt your metabolic rate, increase your blood pressure, negatively affect blood sugar, cause insulin resistance, increase cholesterol levels in the blood, and put you at greater risk for health concerns and diseases such as heart disease.
The good news is that for overweight indiviuals, losing anywhere from 3-4% of your total body weight can help drastically improve heart health and metabolism.
Can You Spot-Reduce Abdominal Fat?
I have some bad news for you… all of those ads and videos online claiming their product will help you specifically reduce abdominal fat is nothing more than a spoon full of lies that they are feeding you. There is absolutely, positively, no way to spot-reduce abdominal fat. That’s not to say that products such as fat-burners can’t help boost your metabolism and give you some help – but it’s not going to do the work for you and won’t do anything if you sit around on the couch all day.
You need to put in the work, stay consistent, and leverage the combination of exercise and nutrition in order to shed off abdominal fat, but it won’t all be stripped from your midsection during the process – body fat will be burned from all over your body.
When you look at how body fat is lost, the last place men tend to lose body fat is their midsection – sorry to break the bad news to you, fellas. On the other hand, women may find it easier to shrink their waist and abdominal fat, but the last place they tend to reduce body fat are their legs, hips, and glutes. While this tends to be a generalization, there are cases where individuals are anomalies and can easily burn fat from these areas, including their abdominal fat. But for the most part, people will find themselves under the umbrella spelled out as mentioned above.
8 Tips on How to Help Shrink Your Waist and Flatten Your Stomach
While you can’t spot-reduce your abdominal fat, there are some ways for you to support your goal of shrinking your waist and flattening your stomach. Below, you will find eight tips that you can implement today to help put you in a better position to see the results you desire. But remember, it’s all about consistency – don’t quit or fall off of the wagon!
Over the course of several weeks, you should be able to see some noticeable changes to your abdominal fat. Remember, it didn’t take you a week to put it all on, and it won’t take a week to burn it all off.
Let’s dive in!
Take and Record Your Measurements and Body Fat
One of the hardest things for you to determine is how you’re progressing by looking in the mirror. You see yourself every day, which makes it difficult to see the subtle changes you’re making. Therefore, it is recommended that you take and record your measurements and body fat. This will provide you with concrete data that you can analyze and determine how you are doing with your goal of burning off abdominal fat.
Keep a record on a piece of paper or utilize software like MyFitnessPal to keep all of your information and data organized in one place. It would be advised to do your measurements and body fat either every week or every other week to see how you’re progressing and make any necessary changes.
Put Yourself in a Caloric Deficit
Here’s the bottom line… if you aren’t in a caloric deficit, you’re not going to lose weight or reduce abdominal fat. You need to consume fewer calories than what is required to maintain your weight. So, if you’re maintenance puts you at 2,000 calories a day, you should be anywhere from 250-500 calories (on average) below your maintenance in order to see a 0.5-1.0lb decrease in weight per week.
Weight loss is a numbers game. You can effectively lose weight in a caloric deficit, but when you’re in a caloric surplus, you’ll be heading in the opposite direction and will gain weight.
Don't Completely Eliminate Macronutrient Categories
The last thing you want to do is eliminate entire macronutrients. Not only is it a foolish idea, but it’s not sustainable over the long term. It’s for that very reason why so many diets fail. They have you eliminating carbs or fat, and most people can’t do that day in and day out because they will have insane cravings, and there’s no reason why they can’t eat whatever they want (in moderation).
A better thing to do than eliminate macronutrients is to play with the ratios. There’s nothing wrong with limiting how much you consume and setting targets for protein, carbs, and fat. Using an online tracking tool like MyFitnessPal is a great way to manage your nutrition and macronutrient intake (as well as total calories for the day).
Portion Control is Key
Far too many people fall into the trap of loading things on their plate or eating directly from packaging where they have no idea how much they’ve actually consumed. If you want to eliminate abdominal fat, you need to know precisely what you are putting in your body, and it starts with portion control.
When you grab an item, look at the nutrition facts. What is the serving size? Are you following it? Probably not. In fact, you have probably doubled what the serving size is without even know it.
While it may not be convenient, consider weighing out your food and focusing on servings sizes for accurate portion control. It doesn’t take much to gain weight. For instance, something as small as an extra 250 calories a day could cause you to gain around 0.5lbs in a matter of seven days (go over by 500 calories per day, and you’re looking at weight gain of one pound per week).
Again, putting your information into MyFitnessPal is a quick and simple way to keep track of your food, where your calories are, and hit your daily intake of calories and macros.
Track Your Nutrition
I always love the saying, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” It is so true when it comes to nutrition. Do you know right now how many calories you are consuming each day? I don’t want a guesstimate, I want an actual number. You probably can’t, right? That’s because you have no idea how many calories you are consuming. So again, like what was mentioned in #2, how do you know if you’re in a caloric deficit? I’ll answer that for you… You don’t.
Use a free tool like MyFitnessPal to track your nutrition. Put in all of your meals, including those tiny snacks and bites of things you have throughout the day. Every bite and sip needs to be accounted for, otherwise, your numbers will not be accurate, which can stall your progress with eliminating abdominal fat.
Something not many people think about when it comes to weight loss and trying to eliminate stubborn abdominal fat is stress. Stress can cause a rise in cortisol (a stress hormone) which can cause you to hold onto and even store more body fat. This is counterproductive to what you are trying to accomplish.
While reducing stress can be easier said than done, take time each day to unwind and relax. We all live crazy and busy lives, and it’s crucial for all of us to have some downtime. Find a quiet room to sit in silence, read a book, meditate, take a walk, or do whatever you enjoy and find relaxing.
Supplements such as NutraBio’s KSM-66 Ashwagandha can also help to support your body’s healthy balanced cortisol levels.
Make Time to Exercise
Save your breath with all of the excuses as to why you don’t exercise – I’ve heard them all a million times. It’s great that you believe them, but I don’t. Here’s the reason for my lack of compassion when it comes to excuses – they’re just that, excuses. If you truly wanted to improve your health and reduce your abdominal fat, you would make exercise a priority. If it’s not a priority, then clearly, it doesn’t mean that much to you.
If you’re serious about hitting your goals, schedule your workouts each day like you would meetings. Put them in your calendar to ensure nothing else takes up that time slot and get it done – no excuses.
Make sure you are lifting heavy when resistance training, and don’t forget to hit some cardio as well. A minimum of three days should be dedicated to resistance training (including abs), and cardio can be done as needed, as much as seven days a week if you want, to ignite your fat-burning potential.
Get Enough Sleep
Are you getting the recommended minimum of seven hours of sleep each night? Probably not, right? You’re probably busy getting work done or catching up on all of your Netflix or television shows you have DVR’d. I get it. But at the same time, you need to focus on your sleep if you really want to improve your overall health and reduce your abdominal fat.
Lack of sleep increases cortisol levels which can cause you to more easily store body fat, as well as increase ghrelin levels (a hunger hormone) that can cause you to overeat and send you in the wrong direction from where you want to go.
Just like with your workouts, plan your sleep schedule and make sure you’re in bed early enough to get in a full seven (or more) hours of quality sleep each night.
If you’re looking to improve your sleep quality, check out the list of sleep aids from NutraBio. With products like Melatonin, ZMA, GABA, and L-Theanine, you can get a better night’s rest and wake up feeling refreshed and recovered.