How to lose belly fat in 3 simple steps: Your roadmap to ripped abs

Heather Campbell
 min read

How to lose belly fat is one of the most asked questions when it comes to weight loss.

How to lose belly fat in 3 simple steps: Your roadmap to ripped absLosing weight offers more benefits than a nice, tight body and appearance.

As a general rule, abdominal fat threatens our health and poses severe health risks in the medium to long term. Lose belly fat by changing your diet and lifestyle, eliminate all sugar to increase fat burning, and exercise properly and regularly. Regular, good sleep and less stress are important too.

Read on to understand where this belly fat comes from and what to do about it.

How to lose belly fat: Introduction

The most dangerous belly fat is the fat you don’t see.

Not only is too much belly fat cosmetically unappealing, but the dangers to your health are also more significant than you think.

Dangers of belly fat to our health

The main risk of belly fat is a significantly increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

But your joints (back, knees, hips, and ankles) also take a beating when you are overweight.

Finally, excess abdominal fat is considered a strong indicator of developing type 2 diabetes, which leads to severe, sometimes even fatal, cardiovascular conditions.

So a belly is definitely not without danger. Often people think that a bit of a tummy can’t hurt. But beware because this is entirely incorrect. It is precisely that extra fat stored around your waist that is tremendously dangerous!

Two stores of fat

In fact, the human body stores fats in 2 different places:

  • We know the first store of fat all too well. It is located subcutaneously and is clearly visible under the skin of our belly, hips, thighs, and buttocks.
  • There is also fat deeper under the skin: around the heart, lungs, stomach, and liver, deeper inside the body around the organs.

This organ fat (also known as belly fat or visceral fat), while invisible, is very unhealthy if you have too much of it.

And that belly (abdominal obesity) is a direct indication that too much fat is stored around the organs.

Belly fat makes cortisol hormones

Scientific research shows that belly fat produces a lot of cortisol hormones.

And these stress hormones, unfortunately, have a strong relationship with the development of cancer cells and tumors in the human body.

Cortisol is produced by the body in the face of stress and danger. The brain registers this stress hormone and then assumes that you will need additional energy later to curb the threat.

And so, as a response to the stress hormone, the body starts storing extra energy in the form of fat reserves. And if you want to lose belly fat, you definitely want to avoid that.

On top of that, cortisol increases the appetite, so you unconsciously eat a little more and take in more calories.

In short, the production of the stress hormone cortisol (resulting from belly fat) is a negative spiral for your body and weight that is very dangerous.

Don’t get distracted by the cosmetic side of things. We all know belly fat is not particularly sexy. It is way more important is to understand that belly fat is not a matter of appearance alone.

It is life-threatening because it stimulates the production of the stress hormone cortisol.

Belly fat results from a rigorously changed diet

Going back in time, it appears from an evolutionary perspective that our bodies were made to burn a lot of fats and proteins and relatively few carbohydrates.

But times change. Our wealth has increased enormously, and unfortunately, so have our eating habits.

Many health problems result from rigorously altered diets, including excess belly fat.

Much of the food we can buy today comes from a factory, when before we used to buy fruits and vegetables at the market or from a farmer, much of it is now offered ready-to-eat in packages.

With these so-called manufactured foods, another problem was also introduced… Masses of artificial additives such as simple carbohydrates (sugars) and preservatives are added to our food.

Losing belly fat can be done by choosing the right fuel

Without gasoline, electricity, or diesel, your car won’t run. Our bodies are just the same. The human body needs continuous fuel to function correctly.

Whereas cars can run on gasoline, diesel, gas, or electricity, the human body needs 3 different fuels:

  • Fats
  • Carbohydrates
  • Proteins

All of these types of fuel have different effects on your body. Understanding these is very important if you want to lose weight healthily, especially if you want to get rid of belly fat!

Fats

Fats come in roughly two types:

  • Positively affecting our health: Unsaturated fats, which can be found in nuts, seeds, fatty fish, avocado, and olive oil.
  • Harming our health: Saturated fats, such as snacks from the deep fryer or cooking fat.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are found in bread, pasta, noodles, potatoes, rice, cereals, fruits, vegetables, and sugar-rich products such as candy, chocolate, cakes, cookies, and ready-made sauces.

Carbohydrates are the leading cause of belly fat

You would think that eating fats, in particular, would cause you to store more body fat.

While that is partially true, carbohydrates (not fats) are the main cause of excess fat.

Wrong carbs

Obesity is not caused by healthy fats and proteins.

Scientific evidence from the last few decades shows that eating too many (simple) carbohydrates is the leading cause of excess body fat!

In short, foods rich in carbohydrates cause you to store belly fat. But on the other hand, foods rich in vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and protein cause you to burn belly fat more easily.

Sugar causes your body to store fat

A separate category of carbohydrates are sugars. Sugar is widely used in processed foods but contains almost only calories and no nutrients.

Sugar effectively tells your body to stop burning fat and instead start storing fat.

The fact that sugars have come to play a massive role in our diets is evidenced by the fact that the average sugar consumption per person per year has multiplied by 30 over the last century.

Sugar is not only bad for our figures, but is also linked to various health problems such as cancer, heart failure, and dental issues. It is also bad for the development of your brain.

Proteins

Proteins are found in meat, egg, fish, nuts, seeds, and beans and are essential building blocks for the body.

The process that leads to belly fat

The process that leads to the formation of belly fat is actually quite simple.

After consuming carbohydrates, your digestive organs convert them directly into energy. This energy is called glucose. But beware: Too much glucose in your blood is dangerous.

Incorrect carbohydrates cause high insulin levels

Your body produces the hormone insulin to get glucose to the right place in your body.

Insulin first supplies the glucose to your liver and muscle cells.

The problem arises if we eat too many simple carbohydrates. These “bad” carbohydrates that are quickly digested are also the main cause of high insulin levels.

In other words, they disrupt your hormone balance and cause you to store fat in all parts of your body.

From evolution, our bodies are set up for survival. And unlike now, the next meal was not a sure thing, so our bodies stored carbohydrates that are not immediately needed for energy.

However, if you don’t give your body these carbohydrates, it doesn’t need to store them. So a low-carb diet is the key to less belly fat.

Fortunately, a low-carb diet doesn’t mean you can’t eat any at all. ​

Switch from simple to complex carbohydrates, and you’ll feel more energetic and fit while losing belly fat more efficiently.

How to lose belly fat in 3 simple steps

How do you lose belly fat? If you follow the 3 simple steps below, you can lose belly fat very simply:

Lose belly fat by changing your diet and lifestyle (Step 1)

The first step is to change your eating and lifestyle. A regular and stable diet is necessary to burn belly fat effectively.

After all, you don’t burn belly fat if you don’t eat regularly. Instead, the engine has to keep running because that is best for your combustion. So your metabolism should be running at full speed.

An added benefit is that you are less likely to feel hungry and less likely to snack unhealthily.

Delete sugar from your diet to burn belly fat (Step 2)

In addition, it is crucial to choose the right fuels!

Delete (refined) sugar from your diet immediately and see your belly fat disappear faster over time!

By banning sugar from your diet as much as possible, you can expect the most fat loss around your belly and waist.

The second step is to start eating healthier and more sensibly. Essentially, that means eating fewer simple carbohydrates, more healthy fats, and adequate protein.

Combine this with the following third step (more exercise and sports), and then your belly and those rolls of fat will disappear faster.

Exercise more to lose weight around your waist (Step 3)

This third and final one is the most famous: Move, move and move again.

A sedentary lifestyle is the devil in the fight against excess weight and fat!

However, this does not mean that you should jog an hour every day.

For example, by walking for half an hour every day, cycling more often, and leaving the car at home more regularly will also help you lose belly fat.

If you enjoy exercising, it does help to keep it up for longer! In fact, when exercising, abdominal fat is the first to provide energy.

Related post: How to get a flat stomach: Best exercise & healthy eating tips

It doesn’t matter what you will do to lose weight. For example, consider jogging, running, swimming, walking, cycling, cardio at the fitness center on an elliptical, exercise bike or spin bike, etc.

In any case, try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day.

Another critical consideration is sleep. The importance of a good night’s sleep is often underestimated.

However, various scientific studies have shown that people who sleep about 7 hours per night build up less organ fat than those who sleep less or longer than 7 hours per night.

In short, sleeping 5 hours every night is bad for your belly, and sleeping 10 hours every night is also bad for your belly.

A final tip in the fight against belly fat is to reduce stress. Stress leads to increased production of the hormone cortisol, which causes additional storage of the dangerous organ fat.

Make it a goal to relax enough, take time for yourself and keep an eye on your work-life balance.

How do you lose belly fat with the right diet?

One of the first questions people ask when they want to lose weight is a logical and obvious one:

What exactly should I eat if I can eat fewer carbohydrates?

Well, don’t worry because there are more than enough foods to eat healthily and responsibly while minimizing the intake of simple carbohydrates.

Not all carbohydrates are bad

If you want to lose belly fat nutritionally, it is imperative to start eating less simple carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates can be divided into 2 groups:

Complex carbohydrates (good carbohydrates)

  • Oatmeal
  • Vegetables
  • Seeds
  • Whole-wheat bread
  • Nuts
  • Brown rice
  • Kernels
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Sweet potato
  • Fruit

Simple carbohydrates (bad, avoidable carbohydrates)

  • Fruit juices
  • Ordinary pasta
  • Processed dairy products
  • Potatoes
  • White bread
  • Soft drinks
  • Cookies and sweets
  • White rice
  • Pastries and crisps

These simple carbohydrates cause your blood sugar to rise at breakneck speed, thus increasing belly fat.

However, carbohydrates are certainly not forbidden. Just be careful not to take in too many simple carbohydrates.

Opt for compound carbohydrates found in vegetables, fruits, and numerous whole-grain foods.

What is the best thing to eat to fight belly fat?

The following foods are suitable for targeting belly fat in combination with sport and exercise:

  • Complex carbohydrates (quinoa, sweet potatoes, and to a lesser extent, oatmeal and couscous)
  • Natural oils
  • Eggs
  • Fruit (maximum 2 pieces per day)
  • Fish (such as herring, mackerel, sardines, and salmon)
  • Nuts, seeds, and kernels
  • Meat (especially organic)
  • Vegetables (all vegetables, unlimited)

You might also consider replacing bread for breakfast with, say, oatmeal with almond milk and blueberries. You can also replace bread with a fresh salad with pieces of avocado, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, spinach, and a boiled egg.

Replace sodas with water, tea, and coffee; in the medium term, you’ll notice the change.

Taking action for change

Every change begins with a solid understanding of the current situation and a goal for the future.

This article contributed to the first (how belly fat accumulates and what foods can help combat it). You also now know how dangerous belly fat is to your overall health.

It is now up to you to get started. No one will help you effectively lose that stubborn belly fat. Instead, you will have to look for that intrinsic motivation and perseverance.

Some final tips:

  • Get the right groceries in the house! What you don’t buy, you can’t eat. There are many departments in supermarkets that you can skip without a problem (just think of the racks of chips, frozen foods, ready meals, and so on).
  • Furthermore, make sure you have some healthy snacks within reach (an apple, for example, or some granola).

Good to know: Losing weight means that sometimes you get hungry. Then don’t fall into the old error but make sure there are some healthy options ready.

How to lose belly fat: Conclusion

Wanting to lose your belly fat is about more than just looking better. Namely, it can lead to life-threatening illnesses and diseases.

We hope this article managed to show you how to lose belly fat, and that it is much simpler than you thought. Good luck!

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About Heather Campbell

As a nutritionist, my field of specialization is science-based nutritional advice but more importantly, it is my goal to share capturing and inspiring stories, examples and solutions which can help plus-size individuals overcome their specific difficulties. Read More