0 Comments | Feb 10, 2011

How to lose belly fat – 5 foolproof tips

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Wondering how to lose belly fat?

For many health-conscious Americans, achieving a set of washboard abs would be akin to finding the holy grail of fitness. In my own personal health journey, my six-pack rapidly gave way to a full-sized keg in my early 20’s.  One morning, shortly after my post-pubescent metabolism had come to a screeching halt, I caught a glimpse of myself walking past the mirror enroute to the shower.  Who’s that tub of lard staring back at me?  When did this happen?  I’m a former college athlete – I’m not supposed to get fat!

Many fitness “gurus” will tell you that spot-reduction is not only a possibility, but it’s a scientifically-proven reality – if you purchase their book/pills/potions/drink/exercise ball/etc.  Unfortunately, there is no pill or potion, and no easy way to focus your exercise energies, that will unveil the mystery of how to lose belly fat without addressing your comprehensive body composition.  That’s because there is no mystery:  to lose belly fat, you must lost fat all over your body.  Period.

How do you do that?

Here’s how I lost 42 pounds in a little over 7 months, and how I came to see my abdominal muscles again for the first time since college.

5 tips for how to lose stubborn belly fat

First of all, you have to understand that you’re not “targeting” your belly.  Your body just doesn’t work that way.  You’re targeting your overall body fat percentage, and as that begins to fall by following the steps we’ll outline below, you be amazed at how quickly your belly fat comes off along with all the rest of it.

Here goes.

  1. Change your diet.  I’m not telling you to “go on a diet.”  I’m telling you to change the things that you eat for the rest of your life.  That means you have to enjoy what you eat.  Yes, you are going to have to cut out some stuff you like.  You’ll miss it for a few days, and then you’ll mysteriously love the healthy foods you’re eating every day after that.  See our posts on clean eating and fat burning foods for more, but you should eat meat, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and some fruits.  Go easy on the starches.  Eat no sugar.  Period.
  2. Train your whole body.  Doing crunches will no more earn you a six-pack than doing bicep curls will.  In order to lose belly fat and finally see those abs again, you need systemic exercise.  Drop the “focused body part training” mindset.  Unless you’re a bodybuilder getting ready for Mr. Olympia, it’s not for you.
  3. Train at relatively high intensity. For some people (who are seriously overweight or recovering from surgery), walking on a treadmill is relatively high intensity.  They should keep doing it.  If you’re not in either of those two categories, you need to amp up your workout.  If you’re not gasping for breath at the end of your metabolic conditioning sessions, you’re not doing it right.  Yes, it is uncomfortable.
  4. Change your mindset about exercise. You’re not going to sweat for a few weeks, meet your weight loss goal, and then slump back in the easy chair.  Staying in shape is a lifelong commitment to yourself and your family.  That means it has to be enjoyable, sustainable, and varied enough to keep your attention.  I do Crossfit, but you might choose something else entirely.
  5. Enjoy the process! It was absolutely thrilling to watch my body undergo changes as I lost 42 pounds of flap and man-boobs, and to see my abs start to peek out again from under the belly fat.  But it was equally fun to master myself, to foster the kind of self discipline and self control to see my goals through.  And I enjoy the challenges of every workout.

It’s not rocket science.  It’s not easy, either, and it takes a bit of discipline.  But you’ll love who you become, inside and out!