Losing abdominal fat, also known as belly fat, is one of the most common weight loss goals for men. This is due to the fact that many men tend to easily accumulate weight in their bellies.
Abdominal fat is a particularly dangerous type of fat. Our best understanding of science indicates that diseases like type II diabetes and heart disease are closely related to abdominal fat. (1)
For this reason, getting rid of visceral fat is very important for good health.
To measure your abdominal fat, you can use a simple tape measurer. If you take the circumference of your waist, measurements greater than 40 inches (102 cm) for men and 35 inches (88 cm) for women signify a high-risk factor for the aforementioned diseases. (2)
There are various weight loss strategies that can specifically target visceral fat.
In this article, we will review some evidence-based ways to reduce belly fat.
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How to Lose Belly Fat For Men – A Three-Pronged Approach for Weight Loss
When it comes down to it, weight loss is a fairly straightforward process. However, just because it’s straightforward, this does not mean that it’s easy for everyone to lose weight.
When I say that weight loss is straightforward, I mean that losing (or gaining) weight can be easily calculated using simple math.
Truthfully, weight loss comes down to calorie balance. Specifically, if you use more calories (through exercise and other processes) than you take in (through food), you will lose weight. Conversely, if you eat more calories than you use, you’ll gain weight.
Are there other factors at play? Of course. Nothing is ever quite this simple. However, calorie balance is a tried-and-true method for weight loss.
In seeing the header of this section, you may have correctly deduced that two of the three prongs for weight loss are exercise and diet. But what is the third?
The third key element for weight loss, in my opinion, is stress reduction.
By keeping your stress to a minimum, you put your body and mind in the best state for good health.
Now, let’s take a look at the three biggest components of weight loss.
1. Clean Your Diet
One of the most intuitive ways to decrease belly fat is to simply eat a little bit less.
But, if you’re hungry, this can be a monumental task.
For this reason, I’ll now provide you with some tips to help you take in fewer calories throughout your day without feeling hungry.
Within our food, there are essentially three substances that provide calories: fats, carbs, and proteins.
Protein is known as the most satiating nutrient, meaning that it keeps us feeling full for longer than the other nutrients.
Therefore, when you’re trying to lose weight, it’s a good idea to eat more protein.
Limit Carbs and Sugar
As mentioned above, carbs are one of the three “macronutrients” that provide us with calories. While carbs are not necessarily something you need to avoid completely, limiting your carb intake can help with weight loss.
This is because carbs are not very filling, and we often get hungry again shortly after eating them.
Sugar is a simple form of carbohydrate. Sugar is particularly bad for weight loss, as it can also be addictive, tempting you to eat much more than you normally would.
Limiting carbs and sugar goes a long way toward weight loss.
Besides protein fat and carbs, there is another substance that provides calories: alcohol.
However, alcohol doesn’t really do anything beneficial for our bodies. So, calories from alcohol are referred to as “empty calories”. Truthfully, all they do is cause us to gain weight.
Keeping your alcohol consumption as low as possible is a good idea when you are trying to drop pounds.
2. Exercise Regularly
Unfortunately, very few people exercise today. Exercise is often seen as a punishment when it should be seen as a reward.
By increasing exercise, you can maximize your caloric expenditure. This goes a long way toward helping you lose weight, especially when exercise is combined with a healthy, lower-calorie diet.
If you have tried to exercise before but haven’t been able to keep up with it, a good recommendation is to partner with a friend to whom you are accountable.
There are three basic “modes” of exercise which you should complete every week.
Do Your Cardio
Cardio exercise includes things like biking, walking, or swimming. These movements burn quite a few calories, and they provide a host of other benefits.
Luckily, you don’t even really need to do a lot of cardio to see the health effects. For instance, just completing 150 total minutes of cardio a week is generally considered to be sufficient for good health.
Lifting weights, using resistance bands, or performing bodyweight movements, like pushups, is important for building muscle and shedding fat. Most experts recommend that people complete 2-3 days of resistance training for the whole body per week.
Last but not least, you want to keep your body flexible. This enables you to perform the other modes of exercise more easily, while also reducing any discomfort you may have in your joints and muscles.
There is no hard and fast rule for how often to perform flexibility exercises. A good, general recommendation is to complete 5-7 days of total body stretching per week. You should hold each stretch for about 30 seconds and complete 4 of each stretch per session.
3. Stress Reduction
Last but not least, we need to talk about reducing stress. Stress is not something we can completely eliminate from our lives, nor should we. Stress is a normal sensation to feel before a big presentation, when meeting new people, or during tons of other occasions.
However, we should strive to keep stress to a minimum.
There are a number of ways in which we can manage our stress effectively. Let’s take a look at some of the most common stress reduction techniques
Some people are turned off by the idea of meditation because they see it as a religious pursuit. While meditation can have religious components, it doesn’t have to. Meditation is simply the act of sitting and calmly focusing your thoughts on a particular subject.
Some people will try to focus only on their breathing, others will try to think through problems they’ve been dealing with, and some will try to think about nothing.
Self-care can take many different forms. For instance, some people like to read for self-care, while others like to listen to music or get a massage. Whatever makes you feel like you are taking care of yourself, be sure to incorporate it into your routine regularly.
Seeking Professional Guidance
In some cases, it is necessary to bring in professional help for stress reduction. This is nothing to be ashamed of. Counselors and psychiatrists have helped many people over the years and they may be able to help you too!
How to Stay Motivated When Your Weight Loss Journey Becomes Difficult
At some point during your weight loss saga, you’re going to become irritated, stressed, and fed up with the process.
This is completely normal. You should anticipate this and take one or more of the following steps to prevent yourself from falling off the wagon.
One of the best ways to stay motivated is to see real, objective progress through measurements.
You can do this in a variety of ways.
The easiest objective measure you can take is simply weighing yourself every day. By stepping on the scale at the same time each day, you can make sure that you are on track with your weight loss program.
Alternatively, you can take waist measurements using a simple, flexible tape measurer.
Also, journaling or writing down your workouts and food intake for the day is a good way to keep yourself accountable. This will ensure that you can see what you did each day that led to your eventual weight loss.
Whatever method works best for you is the one you should employ. Also, it never hurts to use more than one method of measuring progress as well.
Final Thoughts On How to Lose Belly Fat for Men
Losing weight is not an easy prospect, nor is it fun for most people. However, if you take it step by step, and go slowly, you’ll be at your goal weight before you know it!
- Elffers, T. W., de Mutsert, R., Lamb, H. J., de Roos, A., Willems van Dijk, K., Rosendaal, F. R., Jukema, J. W., & Trompet, S. (2017). Body fat distribution, in particular visceral fat, is associated with cardiometabolic risk factors in obese women. PloS one, 12(9), e0185403. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0185403
- Link found at Research Gate: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Classification-of-Overweight-and-Obesity-by-BMI-Waist-Circumference-and-Associated_tbl1_232282212