Are you unable to lose an inch of belly fat even after doing your fair share of abs crunches and that too for months? Then you are not alone.
Most people who try to lose belly fat, face the same problem of minimal results.
Since belly fat has a higher amount of fat cells that don’t respond easily to the fat-breakdown process, It is harder to shift compared to other parts of the body.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t lose it! Right now, my waist circumference is around 33 inches, which is considered a healthy size. Last year, this was not the case.
I was struggling to lose weight. Keeping my waist size in check was not even on my radar.
But somehow, I managed to lose weight and even burn belly fat, and that too in a short span of time.
Here’s how you can too lose 3 inches of belly fat in 15 days. But first, let’s cover the basics!
Belly Fat Has Types!
There are two different types of belly fat, subcutaneous and visceral fat.
Subcutaneous is the fat stored under the skin (also found in our arms, legs). In a way, fat that is visible and you can pinch is the subcutaneous fat.
Whereas, Visceral fat is the fat inside the abdominal cavity. It can be diagnosed only by CT scans.
But if you have a waist circumference of 35 inches or more for women or 40 or more inches for men, then it’s a sure sign that you have excess visceral fat.
Moreover, unlike subcutaneous fat, visceral fat is far more dangerous and can result in various health complications.
The risk associated with excess belly fat includes stroke, diabetes, heart attack, asthma, colon cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, etc.
Why Belly Fat is Harder to Lose?
It’s not just in your mind, Belly fat is indeed harder to lose compared to other areas of the body, Mainly because the fat cells around the belly have different types of receptors.
Normal fat cells have beta receptors, whereas fat cells in the abdomen have alpha receptors.
And these alpha receptors release fat far more slowly than the beta receptors.
That’s why even though you are burning fat, You are not necessarily burning belly fat. In a way, you will start burning belly fat after you lose fat in your arms, legs, & face.
Reasons why you have belly fat
Here are four main reasons why you have belly fat:
- Unhealthy diet: Periodic consumption of alcohol, sugary foods, soft drinks, packaged foods with lots of trans fat, fried food, refined carbs, high-Lactose dairy foods (anything with too many carbs & unhealthy fats), etc will only make you gain belly fat.
- Lack of physical activity: A study on physical activity & belly fat suggests that lack of physical activity is much more closely linked with belly fat compared to calorie intake. To some extent, lack of physical activity will make it easier for you to gain belly fat.
- Inadequate sleep: In one study, researchers followed 68,000 women for 16 years, and they found out that women who slept 5 hours or less gained more weight than women who slept for 6+ hours daily.
- Stress: If you are under constant stress, your body will release a steroid hormone called cortisol. Cortisol stimulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism for fast energy necessary for stressful situations. But this can also result in increased appetite and cravings for sugary & salty food. In brief, stress will make you gain weight faster.
3 Steps to Lose 3 Inches of Belly Fat in 15 Days
These 3 steps target belly fat from three different angles.
First, you will eliminate unhealthy foods from your diet. Foods that are making you gain weight. Plus, you will add foods to your diet that will help you in burning belly fat faster.
In the second step, you will adopt a weight-loss-friendly diet plan if you are overweight. A diet plan that will help you in losing excess weight & keeping your calorie intake in check.
Finally, In the third step, you will adopt a workout routine to train your abdominal muscles, So that your stomach becomes aesthetic & toned as you lose weight.
STEP 1. Make Dietary Adjustments
All you need to do is eliminate extra sugar, refined carbs, unhealthy fats & replace it with weight-loss-friendly food.
Foods to Avoid:
- French fries/Potato chips: They are high in calories, salt & unhealthy fats. Moreover, they are addictive enough for you to eat too many of them in one sitting.
- Soft drinks: Soft drinks are high in sugar. One can of soft drink can contain up to 33 grams of sugar. Soft drinks literally provide empty calories with no other health benefit.
- Alcohol: The alcohol that contains the least amount of calories is vodka. And vodka contains around 100 calories per shot (2 shots/day for 7 days = 1400 calories).
- Ice-cream: Most types of ice cream are high in sugary content with little to no amount of protein and fiber.
- White bread: A lot of studies show that eating white bread is linked with a high risk of obesity & belly fat.
- Most processed foods: Processed foods are not on your side when it comes to burning belly fat. Since, most processed foods contain a ton of sugar, artificial ingredients, & refined carbs.
- Baked food: Cakes, candy, cookies, custard, frozen desserts, pudding, pastry, etc.
Foods to Consume:
- Green tea: Green tea contains caffeine, known to help in the fat-burning process. Moreover, green tea also contains a catechin called EGCG, which helps in boosting metabolism.
- Leafy greens: Microgreens, collard greens, cabbage, kale, watercress, beet greens, romaine lettuce, arugula, turnip greens, bok choy, turnip greens, etc
- Seafood: Salmon, tuna, cod, trout, sardines, barramundi, etc
- Meat and poultry
- Zero-calorie food: Apples, beet, asparagus, brussels sprouts, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, clementines, chard, cucumbers, grapefruit, etc
- Apple cider vinegar: Several studies show that apple cider vinegar promotes fullness, helps in boosting metabolism & can help reduce overall calorie intake. You can consume apple cider vinegar before a meal by mixing 1-2 tablespoons (15-30 ml) in water.
- Whole grains: A study suggests that a whole grain diet is good for reducing belly fat. Here are some good sources of whole grains: brown rice, whole wheat, whole oats, whole rye, buckwheat, bulgur, whole-grain barley, sorghum, triticale, etc
- Coconut oil: Fatty acids present in coconut oil can help in reducing appetite, boosting metabolism & increasing fat burning.
- Fruits: Grapefruit, berries, passion fruit, kiwi, avocados, melons, oranges, bananas, etc
- Eggs: Eggs are the healthiest, nutrient-dense, filling, weight-loss-friendly food on the planet. Since they are high in protein, eggs help in reducing appetite & increasing the feeling of fullness.
- Drink more water: Water is 100% calorie-free. Moreover, It helps in burning more calories, boosting metabolism, and suppressing appetite, if consumed half an hour before a meal.
- Restrict your calorie intake: To burn belly fat, you have to consume fewer calories than you can burn in a day or, you will keep on gaining weight.
- Soluble fiber: Several studies show that soluble fiber is linked with a lower risk of belly fat. Foods high in soluble fiber include Lima beans, Brussels sprouts, Avocados, Turnips, Broccoli, Carrots, Apricots, etc
- Avoid junk food: Junk foods are high in unhealthy fats, refined carbs & unwanted calories. If you want to lose belly fat, you have to avoid junk food.
STEP 2. Follow a Diet Plan to Lose Excess Fat
You can’t specifically target belly fat with your diet or exercise routine unless you have lost fat from all over the body.
And If you are overweight, First you need to lose excess weight.
Since, Weight loss = 80% diet + 20% exercise. To lose excess weight, A proper diet is crucial.
Moreover, during weight loss, you will first lose fat from your arms, face, legs, and then from your hip, thighs, & belly.
In a way, whether you are overweight or not, to burn belly fat, you need a diet plan that can help you in burning fat.
Choosing a Diet Plan
Since the diet is 80% of the equation, the better your diet is, the easier it will be for you to lose weight and ultimately shrink your waistline.
You can choose any diet you like, but make sure it is weight-loss-friendly. I would recommend you to follow calorie deficit or the keto diet.
For those who want to lose weight by creating a calorie deficit, all you need to do is consume fewer calories every day than you usually consume.
For example, reducing your calorie intake to around 1500 calories per day.
You can start by cutting 500 calories per day from your diet. A calorie deficit of 500 calories per day is healthy and sustainable.
Moreover, To avoid nutrient deficiencies, add fruits & veggies to your meals.
An average woman needs to consume around 2000 calories per day to maintain weight and about 1,500 calories per day to lose one pound per week.
By creating a calorie deficit, you can expect to lose 4+ pounds/month, and if you exercise regularly, you can lose up to 7-8 lbs in a month.
Each pound you lose will narrow your waistline.
For those readers who have tried calorie deficit, and yet those stubborn pounds are STILL hanging on for dear life!
You should give a shot to the keto diet.
A Keto diet is a low-carb diet with a moderate amount of protein (10-20% protein, 70-80% fat, 5-10% carbs).
The diet works by depleting the body of its sugar reserves which result in the breakdown of fats for energy. Molecules called ketones are formed in the body as fuel.
When the body burns fat, it results in weight loss. The Effectiveness of the keto diet has been proven in a lot of Studies
A study on the ketogenic diet even suggests that people who followed the keto diet lost 2.2 times more weight than people on a low-calorie and low-fat diet.
Last year (2020), I tried the keto diet & I managed to lose around 24.5 pounds in 47 days. So, I am quite sure of its effectiveness.
Moreover, Multiple studies and anecdotal evidence verify the effectiveness of a low-carb and ketogenic diet for fat loss, particularly in the abdominal section, making it a perfect fit for losing belly fat.
And yes, it will work perfectly for you even if you are over 40. On the flip side, You may be surprised to know that keto is considered one of the best diets for adults and seniors due to its unique health benefits.
However, keto is a restrictive diet, and to gain any potential benefits from keto, you have to enter ketosis & it’s hard to get into ketosis.
Still, the best & fastest way to lose weight with the keto diet is under the guidance of a nutritionist.
If you wish to follow the keto diet, I would recommend you to consult a nutritionist or If you are like me and you consider visiting a nutritionist an unnecessary hassle then you can get a custom keto diet plan from here.
This diet plan will also be tailored to your weight loss goals. Moreover, it will help you in avoiding nutrient deficiencies, maintaining ketosis & in preparing healthy meals.
This custom diet plan will respect your food preferences too and will be created based on the expertise of certified nutritionists, personal trainers, and chefs.
Remember, The Keto diet is a medical diet. Utilizing it for losing weight without the proper guidance of a health expert can lower your results.
STEP 3. Follow a Workout Routine to Tone Your Abdominal Muscles
You cannot specifically target abdominal fat.
But If you are overweight, daily exercise will definitely help you in losing weight faster. Here are a few exercises to burn fat:
Exercises to Lose Weight Fast
- Jogging: In 30 minutes, you can expect to burn 200-500 calories
- Cycling: You can burn 290+ calories in 30 minutes, cycling at a moderate speed. (For a more accurate measurement, click here)
- Jumping rope: You can expect to burn 300 calories in a 15-minute workout. In fact, skipping burns 25% more calories per minute than running. (Check jump ropes on Amazon)
- Stationary Bike: According to Harvard University, In 30 minutes, a 155-pound person can burn 260 calories riding a stationary bike at a moderate pace (Check stationary bikes on Amazon).
- Walking: You can burn 100-300 calories in 30 minutes, walking at a brisk pace. (Brisk walking pace is around 100 steps in a minute)
Out of all these exercises, walking is the simplest, most effective exercise. If you are not sure where to start, start by walking for 30 minutes every day.
Exercises to Build Abdominal Muscle
Here are a few exercises that can help you in building abdominal muscles. Yes, You will not lose belly fat by building abdominal muscles.
But as you lose weight, abs exercises will make your stomach look more aesthetic & toned.
Muscle Targeted: Quads, core, shoulders, and hamstrings
Muscle Targeted: Core and hip flexors
Knee to elbow kickbacks
Muscle Targeted: Core, glutes, shoulders, arms, hamstrings, and hips
Muscle Targeted: Core and glutes
Beginners’s Abs Workout Routine to Tone Your Belly
- Skipping: 2 min – 5 min
- Plank: 30 sec – 60 sec
- Mountain climbers: 15 reps x 5
- Flutter kicks: 30 reps x 5
- Knee to elbow kickbacks: 10 reps (Both sides) x 5
To lose 3 inches from your waistline within 15 days, You need to do three things:
First, you need to avoid unhealthy food & start consuming weight-loss-friendly foods.
Second, If you are overweight, you need to pick a diet plan you are comfortable with & lose excess weight. Since you can’t target belly fat unless you have lost fat from all over the body.
Finally, You need to train your abdominal muscles. So, that as you lose weight, your stomach becomes more toned & aesthetic.
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