8 science-backed ways to lose belly fat in two weeks, according to experts.
Putting weight on is easy but getting it off is a different story. Extra weight can be frustrating, especially when it feels like nothing helps.
Stubborn belly fat in particular causes concern for many people. Despite losing weight in other areas, abdominal fat likes to stick around.
Unfortunately, an accumulation of stubborn weight in our midsection can put us at a higher risk of developing various health conditions.
Stubborn belly fat is often a result of visceral fat. This is a different type of fat from what we see in our thighs, arms, and legs.
That is known as subcutaneous fat which lies just underneath the skin. Visceral fat surrounds our internal organs.
When we have large amounts of visceral fat, we are more at risk for developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
This is because this fat can circulate within our bloodstream and build up in our arteries (1).
So, how can we lose belly fat and decrease our health risks?
Unfortunately, you can’t work off stubborn belly fat. Likewise, there are no specific foods that will get rid of belly fat on their own.
Instead, it’s best to take a more well-rounded approach to fat burning.
What Causes Belly Fat?
Just like with any weight gain, it’s a result of an overconsumption of calories. When we eat more than our body burns, we pack on the pounds. Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell where that extra weight will go.
Some people are more prone to carrying excess weight in their mid-section while others may carry it in their hips, thighs, or other areas. This is likely a result of genetics.
Other risk factors for developing belly fat include high stress and sleep deprivation.
You can thank the hormone cortisol for this. High levels of cortisol, which are released during stress, can increase abdominal fat accumulation (2).
How Can I Get Rid of Belly Fat?
If you are struggling with stubborn belly fat, you are probably looking for a way to reduce it.
Unfortunately, just like gaining weight, where we lose weight is out of our control.
Although you may have gained most of your weight in your abdominal region, that does not mean that’s where it’s all going to come off when you start to lose weight.
The best way to lose belly fat is to focus on losing fat overall.
Although it’s frustrating to see little progress in your problem area, losing fat overall helps to eventually reduce stubborn belly fat, even though it may take longer.
Below are some top tips to start reducing that stubborn belly fat in just 2 short weeks, according to experts.
How to Lose Belly Fat in 2 Weeks
Sustainability should always be a factor when working to lose weight. No one wants to do all this work only to have the weight return later.
Sustainable weight loss means slowly incorporating habits that support your goals but also feel realistic and comfortable as a part of your routine.
Although we can’t guarantee all the weight will be gone in two weeks, these tips below can help jumpstart the process.
1. Make a Plan
To meet a goal, you first need to determine that goal and then make a plan. Where do you want to start? What feels realistic to you? Who is your support group?
These are important questions to ask yourself before starting. If you don’t know where you want to be or how you plan to get there, it’s much more difficult to get started.
2. Get Moving
This may seem like a no-brainer, but exercise is an essential part of weight loss.
Although you can lose weight without exercising, you are more likely to burn fat quicker and keep it off if you develop a regular exercise routine.
The type of exercise you choose to do matters. To burn fat, you want to incorporate a mixture of cardio and strength training exercises.
These exercises can be personal to you. Choose things that you enjoy doing or try something new.
For example, cardio can be swimming, walking, jogging, Zumba, or anything in between.
Walking is always a great place to start if you are new to exercise. Adults should aim to get at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week. That’s about 30 minutes a day (3).
The strength training exercise is essential to develop lean muscle. The more lean muscle mass you have the more calories you burn at rest. Strength training is an excellent way to burn fat quickly.
It is recommended that you incorporate at least 2-3 days of strength training exercises each week that work for all the major muscle groups (chest, back, shoulders, arms, abs, legs, hips) (3).
3. Focus on Fiber
Fiber is great for digestive health, but it also helps to keep you feeling full. Ditch the sugar-laden snacks and reach for more fiber-rich foods to help burn that extra fat.
In fact, one study found that consuming an additional 10 grams of soluble fiber resulted in an almost 4% decrease in gaining belly fat.
4. Embrace Fats
This doesn’t mean going all-out on some fried chicken and French fries. The type of fat you choose matters.
Swap out saturated fat foods, such as fried foods, hamburgers, and highly processed foods for healthy fats instead. Olive oil, avocado, salmon, nuts, and seeds all contain good fats.
Also known as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, these are more filling while also contributing to heart health.
These can be easy additions to your meal or snack. Add some avocado to your salad, some nuts to your oatmeal, swap out butter for olive oil, and more.
5. Prioritize Protein
Fats and fiber aren’t the only filling nutrients in town. Protein is a big one. Protein is incredibly satiating plus it helps to build muscle when combined with strength training.
Protein is essential for the development of muscle mass. When we lift the weight, we create tiny tears within the muscle tissue.
These tears are made so that our body can heal that muscle a little bit bigger and a little bit stronger. It needs protein to do this.
You can find protein in meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products.
You can also find protein in plant products such as tofu, soybeans, tempeh, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Aim to incorporate a protein source with each meal and snack.
6. Cut the Sweets
Who doesn’t have a sweet tooth? Unfortunately, that sweet tooth can be a hindrance to your fat loss.
You already know to avoid sodas, candy, ice cream, and other sweets, but added sugars can be hidden in a lot of other foods.
Check the food label on packaged food items, such as cereal, granola, protein bars, yogurt, and more for added sugars.
The American Heart Association recommends women consume no more than 24 grams per day and men no more than 36 grams per day (6).
7. Get More Sleep
Chronic sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on our health in more ways than one.
Lack of sleep due to stress, an inconsistent sleep pattern, a work schedule, or any other reason could be a contributor to excess abdominal weight. When we are busy it can be hard to prioritize sleep.
In fact, it’s often overlooked when it comes to making healthy choices. Sleep is equally as important as exercise and diet when it comes to weight loss.
Improve your sleep by setting a regular bedtime in the evenings. If you have difficulty falling asleep at night, cut out the blue light at least 1-2 hours before bed.
This means shutting off the TV, phone, tablet, and computer. Instead, create a relaxing wind-down routine.
Avoid caffeine, high-fat, or high-sugar foods before bed as these can keep you up.
8. Eliminate Stress
As mentioned earlier, high-stress levels can lead to an overproduction of cortisol, a hormone that can cause stubborn belly fat.
There will always be unavoidable day-to-day stressors. Try adopting some new tools to help you better manage your stress.
Some popular stress management tools include exercise, eating a healthy diet, meditation, deep breathing, yoga, and more.
Find things you enjoy that help you de-stress. This can include reading a book, listening to music, gardening, calling a friend, getting out for a walk, etc.
Most of the time we don’t even realize we are holding onto stress until it starts to impact our health.
There are a lot of factors that may contribute to abdominal weight gain. Unfortunately, some are more prone to gaining weight in that area than others and it can pose a significant health risk.
It’s impossible to target fat loss in a specific area. To get the weight off, it’s best to focus on overall fat loss.
Prioritizing diet, exercise, sleep, and stress reduction can help you jump-start that fat loss in just a few weeks. Just because you have stubborn belly fat, doesn’t mean you are stuck with it forever.