This is an EXTREMELY common question and although the answer is simple and straight forward, unfortunately, it is the one that people don’t want to hear. Read on…
Belly fat is made up of the same fat cells and adipose tissue that make up the fat all over your body. It is made more significant on an individual level, by the fact that the belly is often the most noticeable area, both when clothed but also when you look down at yourself. It’s right in front of you and it’s often the area that is the easiest to pinch. It is also an area of the body where fat storage is highly related to an increased risk of ill health. This makes it all the more important to try to get rid of and is often the focus when people embark on a fat loss journey.
Unfortunately, where fat is stored (and therefore, where it is removed from) is not up to you. There are no quick fixes, special exercises or magical machines that will get rid of it for you. It’s just a case of consistent diet and exercise. That’s the bit you didn’t want to hear, right?
Fat distribution has a number of contributing factors and these include gender and genetics, lifestyle can contribute as well. Some people may store less fat around their mid sections but keep it around their lower body and legs. Some people have an even distribution of fat all over. Although these factors may decide where the fat is stored and therefore what order it comes off in, it’s still only fat. It’s not invincible (despite how it may feel).
To get rid of your belly fat (or any fat) you need to lose fat all over and to do this, in the most basic sense you need to be in a calorie deficit. To lose fat from the stubborn areas you need to be in that same calorie deficit for even longer. It can feel like it’s an endless process and often people will abandon any positive changes that they’ve made at the first hurdle when fat loss slows. Some weeks the belly will appear to not budge, even if the weight on the scales is going in the right direction. All that is happening is that it’s simply coming off other areas and you have to remember that it can be from areas that you cannot see. If you’re losing fat from your back it may not be immediately noticeable! Don’t try to predict the order of fat loss, even if it starts in the right places (your belly) then goes somewhere else. Trust the process and let it happen.
Fat loss tips:
- Don’t rush. Get yourself into a moderate calorie deficit and once you know you’re progressing keep it there.
- Don’t go in too hard, you don’t want to starve yourself or risk rebounding and undoing all your hard work.
- Eat enough Protein. In simple terms, try to get some protein with each meal or snack. Protein bars or shakes can be a convenient way to increase protein intake.
- Exercise regularly. Do a combination of weights and cardio and ideally stick to whatever you enjoy. If you can’t see yourself still doing it in 6 months then it’s probably not sustainable.
- Be patient, it will take a long time. Often a lot longer than you think and a lot longer then you plan for.
- There will be setbacks, times it feels hard and times when it feels that nothing is happening. Trust the process and persevere.
- Build a support network around you whether this is your family, friends or work colleagues. Having these people around you will make the process easier
I hope that was helpful even if it wasn’t perhaps what you wanted to hear. Losing the belly is hard work and you just need to knuckle down and keep going. There are ways to make it easier and doing it the right way will help, but at the end of the day it’s down to you.