Body

How to get rid of belly fat

Here's how to beat the bulge, once and for all.

You only need to be online for approximately 2.35 minutes before a pop-up ad will appear somewhere on your screen telling you how to lose 5 kilos in 2 weeks.

“Want to know how to lose belly fat fast? Just eat this fruit every day.”

“Dying to figure out how to lose weight fast? Eat these four foods and you will lose belly fat fast.”

“Looking to lose weight quickly? Take these pills harvested by rainbow unicorns reared on kale to have a flat stomach in 10 minutes.”

Could it be true that we can eat something to give us the rippled stomach of our dreams? Not really, according to Dietitian Georgie Rist.

How to lose belly fat naturally

“Body weight is largely influenced by the balance between energy in versus energy out, but age, genetics and dietary composition may play a part,” she tells. “There is no quick fix nor one-size-fits-all when it comes to weight loss or losing belly fat.”

“Weight loss occurs across the body when following a weightloss nutritional and exercise plan, but there are some dietary and lifestyle approaches that may help enhance more abdominal fatloss, such as including green tea (up to 6 cups), reducing sugar, eating smaller meals and more slowly, learning to breath correctly and practising mindfulness and stress management.”

What to eat to lose belly fat

It’s not a great mystery that fresh fruit and vegetables, and lean protein hold the key to weight control, so looking at what goes into our bodies is a good start.

“Excess energy, high sugar, refined carbohydrates, high saturated fat, excess alcohol and excess food can contribute to expanding waist lines and therefore abdominal fat,” tells Georgie.

“Additionally, poor gut health can contribute to weight gain and inflammation which can interfere with fat loss. An unhealthy gut can also cause bloating which may play a role in perceived high belly fat. High salt intake and stress can also cause bloating and expanding waistbands.”

Gut health is obviously important for a flat tummy, but less obviously, so is our mental health. Many people don’t realise the effects that stress has on belly fat, and by reducing our stress levels we may be able to kick-start our road to Midriff City.

When your stress levels are high your body produces more of the hormone cortisol, which makes your body resist weight loss.

Stress makes your body think you’re in danger and you might starve, so you hang on to the calories you consume like a squirrel storing nuts for winter.

“Learn how to switch off and implement stress management strategies, such as laughing, giving back, meditation, yoga, floating, cooking, talking with a friend, writing or whatever you find relaxing to switch off your stress hormone, cortisol,” suggests Georgie.

“Stress triggers our fight or flight response and was useful when we were running from tigers in the wild but we aren’t doing that as much anymore. Cortisol can also be your enemy when raised long term and when coupled with an unhealthy diet and lifestyle, plays havoc on your health and waist line.”