Blasting stubborn belly fat is not easy, but it is not impossible.
Achieving success comes down to getting the right mix of diet, exercise and movement that will force the body to mobilise fat stores that have been stagnant for some time.
And most importantly, it’s about being consistent with any changes you make to your routine because these things take time, especially if the belly fat has been there a while.
1. Change things around
Change is the key to success when you are trying to induce different diet and exercise results. The reason for this is that the body likes to keep things stable, so if you have been eating and exercising the same way for some time, you will continue to get the same results.
On the other hand, if you constantly change things around – for example do different types of exercise, train at different times of the day and mix up your diet regularly – you will continually challenge your metabolism, which in turn will help to burn more body fat.
2. Alternate your carbs
In the same way that adjusting calorie intake can help to give metabolic rate a boost, so too can adjusting the amounts of carbs you are eating at each meal and each day. For example, have one or two days each week in which you lower your overall carb intake, or increase your intake of carbs during the first half of the day and reduce it at night.
When you change things around you will notice differences in your hunger levels, which is suggestive that at times your body is having to work harder to fuel itself and more likely to be mobilising fat stores.
3. Embrace a fast
Of all the emerging dietary research, some of the strongest is in relation to the extensive benefits of fasting. Either embracing a low calorie day once or twice a week or giving yourself a long overnight fast of at least 14-16 hours without food can help to deplete the stores of glucose we have in our liver and muscles, meaning we are more likely to access our fat stores to be utilised as fuel.
You may notice that after a number of extra hours without food, you also find yourself hungrier more regularly, which is suggestive that your metabolism has again had a boost.
4. Exercise right
When we are trying to lose weight (especially weight that has been there for some time) we are often tempted to do more and more exercise. What we do know about boosting metabolic rate is that short bursts of high intensity activity are much more effective in mobilising fat stores as opposed to longer sessions when our heart rate is not as high.
The take home message: you are better to do short bursts of high intensity activity of just 20-30 minutes where your heart rate is high if you are trying to shift belly fat, than walking or cycling for many hours each week.
5. Move after meals
It’s one of the easiest ways to drop a few kilos, yet one we rarely think of doing.
Walking after meals helps to take glucose from the bloodstream, which in turn helps to lower insulin levels. It also means that you are more likely to be burning extra body fat in between meals, especially overnight.
Most people sit for long periods after their meals, especially their evening meal, which means we are far less likely to burn through all those calories overnight.
To give yourself a fat burning kick start, all you need to do is walk after dinner for 20-30 minutes and notice how much better you feel the next morning.
Susie Burrell is a nutritionist. Continue the conversation on Twitter @SusieBDiet