If you need to lose some fat, follow these simple rules to get started today. For many people, stomach fat is the last bit of fat to lose. It can be stubborn and resilient, but it can be beaten! To get the fastest results, you need to adjust your diet, change your exercise routines and modify some parts of your lifestyle.
How to get a flat stomach: Looks can be deceiving
Unless increasing muscle mass is your fitness goal, the main reason many people start (or restart) their health and fitness journey is to learn how to lose belly weight. Stomach fat can be the most immediate and noticeable area of fat accumulation, but it’s worth noting that we can’t spot-reduce fat from parts of the body – when we lose fat, it happens holistically, and we can’t pick and choose where on the body we see results (sorry, but it’s true). This is why we always recommend a holistic shift to better health and exercise habits rather than trying to “hack” your way to your ideal body.
Also good to know: a belly can be the result of other factors than just fat alone.
Anterior pelvic tilt
Anterior what-now? This is a misalignment of the pelvis and hips where the position of the pelvis tilts forwards away from the midpoint of the body, creating a protrusion of the belly and butt — imagine a posture like that of a duck. This physiological irregularity has an effect on posture, balance, mobility, and stability and actually makes your belly push forward and look larger than it actually is.
You can workout as much and as intensely as possible and eat a well-balanced, healthy diet, but if you do indeed have an anterior pelvic tilt that remains uncorrected, your quest for a flat stomach will continue in vain. Sometimes how to lose belly fat is more a case of correcting this misalignment with a few targeted postural exercises.
Another factor that may be hindering you from achieving a flat stomach may be your menstrual cycle. Most women experience bloating as they as menstruation approaches and can put on up to 2-6 pounds in water weight. Even the most slender and toned among us will look a little puffy and bloated a few days to a week before their period starts. Once the menstrual cycle begins, you will probably notice your “belly” shrinking as well.
In addition to hormones that flood the body during the menstrual cycle, some essential hormones such as cortisol and melatonin also play a significant role in packing on the pounds around the belly. When you’re stressed — be it as a result of life circumstances or even a low-calorie diet or a strenuous workout routine — your body is thrown into a state of stress too and ups the release of cortisol. If the stress is prolonged, it can actually prevent your metabolism from working correctly and make it harder for your body to burn fat. Sometimes overtraining and undereating may actually work against your efforts to lose belly fat, as cortisol can cause fat to be deposited in the adipose tissue around the belly area.
Lack of sleep
If you’re eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly and managing your stress levels, and yet you’re still wondering how to lose belly fat, then you may want to consider getting quality shut-eye. A good night’s sleep will help you increase the chances of attaining a flat stomach, as research indicates that the less you sleep, the less your fat cells tend to respond to the hormone insulin. So hit the hay early and sneak in some extra Z’s if you want to see some significant changes to your waistline.
Ways For Men to Lose Stomach Fat
For men, the best approach is to combine cardio exercise with progressive weight training, and by this, we mean aim to lift heavier weights, get stronger. Men should focus on large compound moves, such as squats, deadlifts, bench press, shoulder press and rows. You can finish off with some triceps extensions and bicep curls, but don’t spend too much time on these. We have a few workouts you can do, take a look at the classic German volume training and the Full Body Weight Training Workout Split Over 3 Sessions.
When people talk about how to burn fat, they are really talking about building muscle that helps metabolise more fat – so burn fat off with weight training!
The goal is to use your natural testosterone to build more muscle mass, which will help burn more energy and re-balance your hormone levels, to help burn more fat. Fat contains estrogen, and when men gain weight, more estrogen is stored, which can cause all sorts of problems, such as:
- Reduced libido, decreased erectile function – Sexual dysfunction
- Enlarged breasts / man boobs
- Lower urinary tract symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
- Increased abdominal fat
- Reduction of muscle mass
- Type 2 diabetes
So, building more muscle and burning fat is really good for your health, well-being and general manliness!
1. Clean Eating
This is one of the first major lessons for how to lose belly fat after 40. We may have been able to eat junk food when we were younger, but there’s no way we’ll see results that way today! Make a lifestyle change to choose healthier options for foods. That means minimally processed foods with limited ingredients. Organic is always best, but it’s not 100 % necessary for clean-eating.
We would also encourage you to choose lean sources of protein, like fish or chicken. They provide all the protein you need while also helping you avoid unnecessary fats. Plant-based proteins – like legumes, tofu, or tempeh – are also great. These are perfect options to help you consume low-calorie foods that are healthy, nutritious, and make you feel more satisfied while avoiding overeating.
Next, let’s talk about the type of foods you’re choosing. Fruits and vegetables should take up the bulk of your diet, along with heart-healthy grains, seeds, and beans. You should seek a diversity in food types, as well as color. Different colored food contains different vitamins, which are beneficial to your body. The more colorful your daily fruits and vegetables are, the better!
Check out our Top 25 Flat Belly Foods that provide a few options to get your belly on the right track.
2. Portion Control
Next up, let’s talk about changing your eating habits to rebuild your body. A fundamental principle of clean eating is to eat more frequently, in smaller portions. You should have 3 meals per day and 1 snack in between each meal to keep your hunger at bay. But, as we get older, our bodies still need the same amount of protein and vitamins. At times, we may actually need more! So, keep that in mind as you portion.
Breakfast options are plentiful, but it’s important to choose the right foods. Foods like donuts, cereal, and bagels might satisfy us in the moment, but they provide no real benefits to our system. Your choice for breakfast food sets the tone for your day. Think light, filling, and energy-rich foods. Our breakfast section has a large variety of options to kick-start your day.
For lunch and dinner, you should choose meals that include a nice balance of fruits or vegetables, grains, and lean protein. As always, it’s a good idea for those vegetables to take up the majority of your plate. Try these lunch and dinner suggestions to help you to get an idea of how to portion those meals.
Finally, snacks should always be nutritious and filling. Feeling full is not only beneficial to our overall well-being, but it also prevents binge eating. Our 25 Best Flat Belly Snacks post provides delicious options to flatten that belly and satisfy your taste-buds.
Our bodies are 60% water. The more hydrated we are, the better our organs will function. Benefits of regular water consumption include sweating to release toxins, hydration to keep workouts going strong, and a feeling of fullness that wards off cravings. On average, you should aim to drink 8-12 oz glasses of water a day.
Did you know there are 21 Ways to Eat Your Water?
4. What to Avoid
Cutting certain items from your diet can be the greatest lesson for how to lose belly fat after 40. It will also contribute to your overall weight loss and wellness. Alcoholic drinks can add extra inches to your belly line, and that kind of fat is hard to get rid of. Soda is another beverage that has no nutritional value. Be wary of juices also. Some may be 100% natural, but their sugar content can be high. Moderation in these types of drinks is always a good option, or try some of our favorite recipes and make your own juices and smoothies.
Food such as white rice, white sugar, white bread, and regular pasta are processed and offer less nutrition. It’s not just that they’re carbs, either. These types of foods provide your body with simple carbohydrates instead of filling you up with beneficial complex carbohydrates. Instead, try some of these carbs for weight loss, like brown rice, brown sugar, and whole wheat bread and pasta.
To wrap things up our list of things to avoid, let’s talk about artificial sweeteners. These products are unnatural and provide little (or no) benefit to your body. Instead, try some natural sugar substitutes. Our 10 Alternatives to Refined Sugar provides great options that can satisfy your sweet tooth and give your foods flavor.
If you’re looking for some options to still enjoy delicious food, try these three article options:
- 30-Day No Sugar Challenge
- No Sugar Added – Skinny Desserts
This might be one of the most important tips of the day. Exercise (and varying your exercises) is the best way to create a flat belly. Let’s talk about a few different types of exercises to help you lose that belly fat:
- Ab exercises are important in order to build muscle and slim down your mid-section. Hitting your abs from all angles (targeting lower abs, upper abs, and obliques) will help you to get amazing results.
- Cardio exercises are also a beneficial way to tone. Although we can target where we want to build muscle, we can’t decide where our body burns fat. Cardio works to involve your entire body in fat-burning action. Jogging, treadmills, spinning, and even swimming are good options for burning body fat and revealing a more toned belly.
- Building muscle is key. Although ab work and cardio will get you results, exercising other parts of your body will bring faster results. The more muscle we have, the faster we burn fat. Work on your butt, which contains the biggest muscle in your body. Also include your arms, legs, back, and chest to increase your fat burning abilities.
Unsure of where to start on with transforming your belly? Our 6-Week Flat Belly Program will guide you into a belly you’ve always dreamed of.
Once we hit 25 years of age, our metabolism begins to slow down gradually. Our muscle mass also decreases, making it more difficult to burn fat at the rates we need. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is one of the best methods to kick-start your metabolism. HIIT involves doing fast-paced exercises for a short period of time.It allows us to change our bodies on a cellular level. The higher the intensity, the more you change you’ll see in your body.
The famous Japanese routine, Tabata, is a great HIIT workout. It involves working for 20 seconds followed by a 10 second rest. In total, you’ll repeat this process about 8 times with various exercises. That creates a 4-minute workout that can burn fat for up to 24 hours. Start your morning with these Tabata routines and watch your belly fat disappear.
If you’re looking for more, these are some of our favorite HIIT routines.
- Plan your meals ahead. The more you prep in advance, the easier it will be to stick to a meal plan and get the results you need.
- Everything takes time. Give your body time to adjust to your healthier lifestyle and exercise routine. In 4-6 weeks you should see a significant change.
- Change your exercise routine every 3-4 weeks. Our bodies begin to get used to routines and our muscles hit a plateau and stop reacting to the resistance.
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New Research About Waist Size For People Over Age 50
Slimmer waist size increases odds of a longer life, says new research.
A recent New York Times article (see sources below this article) revealed the connection between waist size and longevity and the results of a research study by epidemiologist Dr. Eric Jacobs.
The doctor and his research team tracked 48,500 men and 56,343 women, over age 50, from 1997 to 2006.
What they discovered is fascinating.
The upshot of it is: having a large waist size doubled the risk of dying. It’s important to your lifespan and vitality to have a tight waist.
Quick Ways to Tell If Your Body Dislikes the Food You Just Ate
I encourage you to seek out your health care professional to develop a proactive, conscious healthier aging strategy. Having said that, here is a diagnostic scan to help you determine if you might be sensitive to a particular food or menu item. It simply requires that you look-and-listen carefully to a couple of your body’s key signals.
After Eating, Do You Usually Feel Puffy?
Everybody gets a little gassy sometimes, but if you’re often seriously bloated and uncomfortably flatulent after eating, then perhaps what you ate is something that your own body is challenged with processing. An important exception to this occurs when you’re not used to eating fiber (and then you start eating more fiber, you’ll get gassy – usually just because your body isn’t used to fiber; yet, you will become accustomed to higher fiber intake over time).
After eating, you want to feel enhanced with strength and sustained energy – not tired and gassy.”
After Eating, Does Your Energy Level Drop?
Please believe me when I tell you that food is supposed to give you energy, not drain it! If you feel even a little tired after you eat something: receive that as a message from your body.
Dane Findley earned a masters degree in Counseling Depth Psychology from Pacific Graduate Institute. His past professional adventures include being a Therapist and Discharge Planner at a Dual-Diagnosis Hospital Inpatient Treatment Program, Digital Marketing Director for a real estate brokerage and decades spent as a professional fitness and Pilates trainer. Today, Dane is a Healthy-Lifestyle Advocate who curates the Quality of Life Newsletter – a weekly update for creative types who want to increase their daily joy.
Most of us who have been eating the standard modern diet for a long time are so accustomed to feeling full and tired after we eat that we don’t even think anything about it or notice it that much.
Very-full-and-tired is not the feeling you want to go for after a meal or snack.
After eating, you want to feel enhanced with sustained energy.
…after you eat your lunch, you want to feel agile and energized!”
It depends on your own body’s unique chemistry, but generally wheat and dairy are the big culprits to the waistline (besides the obvious culprits – like sodas, fried foods, and booze).
1. Prepare Internally for Change by Making Careful Plans
How did I lose the fat?
Those of you who use this site frequently might already know that I am deeply interested in the art and science of improving personal productivity. I truly believe that:
- a significant part of success is having great organizational systems
- this is especially true when it comes to eating-for-strength
- when we “fall off the wagon” with our food and lifestyle choices, it’s usually because we’re not fully prepared
For example, for me personally, I tend to eat and feel so much better when I pack my lunch and bring it to work (instead of going to a restaurant, market, sub shop, or burrito place during my lunch hour).
But packing lunch requires preparation:
- It requires having a list for the once-a-week visit to the grocery store.
- And it requires scheduling a set time to fix and pack the lunch before leaving the house in the morning.
Even if you work from home, you still have to be organized in order to pull it off successfully.
The best year of your life probably hasn’t happened yet. I’m Dane Findley and my message is simple: it’s only in your thriving that you have anything to offer anyone – therefore, the best investment you can ever make is in your own health.
When you get my free updates you also get instant access to my bonus guide on how to better manage your time, energy, and nutrition.
- the newsletter is for free-thinking, creative types who’ve decided they want to be even healthier than they are now
- the evidence-based, actionable strategies for a better life – that I share freely – are for those intrigued by personal development
- if you are kind and curious, you will likely find this information motivating and helpful
- there’s nothing wrong with someone being rigid in their beliefs, but if that’s you, you’ll likely not enjoy my newsletter (no hard feelings – I wish you well on your journey)
- if you go more than 4 months without opening one of my email messages, you will automatically be unsubscribed
- don’t sign up for my newsletter if you are someone who is not fascinated by human optimization and stellar health
However, if you are someone for whom improved health is becoming a top priority, then I invite you to sign up for my free updates:
3. Use a Proven Success Formula
I decided to keep it simple. My strategy was just to shave 200 calories off my daily intake (which isn’t that much; yes, I noticed it, but it wasn’t painful) and burn 300 more calories a day through exercise (again: totally do-able).
Because I know that muscle mass correlates with higher metabolism, I made sure to include some strength training each week.
My personal favorite is using the kettlebell because I find it’s easier on my 52-year-old joints (see image, above).
And, as always, pilates was very helpful to me (as it has been for decades), so I turned-up by pilates workouts a notch.
I use kettlebells and pilates exercises to help my clients, age 50 and over, trim their waistlines, too.
As I experimented with my daily menu, I found that – over time – my taste buds changed and became used to fresh plant foods. I was attracted increasingly to anti-inflammatory foods: I had less grains and more “super salads.”
Perhaps most importantly, I tried to have a sense of humor. Life after 50 isn’t always easy – it’s strange to have a full head of silver hair and see my skin lose some of its elasticity and refinement, but the wisdom I’ve acquired in life truly has made me happier than I’ve ever been before.
My mind feels calmer at this age.
My life feels more meaningful to me, and so as I undertook my lifestyle improvements after age 50, I chose to see it as just more adventure on the journey (I never, ever thought of it as a diet).
Yes, you can lose belly fat after age 50. Here I am doing a park workout – age 52 – knee raises using parallel bars (or in this case, bleachers). Abdominal exercises help trim my waistline and keep my core muscles firm; however, what has been more helpful to me for losing belly fat, has been eating an anti-inflammatory diet – a freshly made green smoothie each day and avoiding grains, dairy and sugar. Less fruit, too.
What thoughts does this article inspire in you? Do you believe the results of Dr. Jacob’s research study, that long life correlates to a lean waist, even for people over age 50?
Correlation between Waistspan and Healthspan – http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/09/waist-size-linked-with-longevity/?_r=0
Parents Not Recognizing Obesity in Their Own Offspring – https://consumer.healthday.com/kids-health-information-23/misc-kid-s-health-news-435/today-s-parents-less-able-to-spot-obesity-in-their-kids-study-691022.html
Inflammation Increase Linked to Fatal Disorders – http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303612804577531092453590070.html
Food Allergy Culprits – http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/08/24/junk-food-diet-puts-children-at-higher-risk-of-allergies.aspx
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What Causes Belly Fat
As a woman, I know how annoying belly fat can be. You could have the “cleanest” diet, and do crunches all day long and still have a little pooch of belly fat sitting right above your yoga pants. But what even causes belly fat? The answer is simpler than Dr. Oz may have you believe. Though each of us carries weight in different areas of our bodies, gaining weight in any specific place is the result of gaining weight in general. If your body tends to be more “apple” shape than “pear” shape, congratulations – for the most part, that’s just your genetics. For example, proportionate to the rest of my body, I will never have a big bum. I would love an ass. I would love boobs too. But I wasn’t genetically endowed with either. Aside from genetics, weight cycling (drastic fluctuations in weight as a result of ‘yo-yo dieting’) is also known to cause weight gain and specifically, central body fat (aka. belly fat). So if you’re thinking about a crash diet this Summer, you may want to think again.
MY LATEST VIDEOS
But what about how to lose belly fat? A quick Google search reveals tons of quick fix solutions, but do any of them actually work? I dug through the research to compile a list of some common quick fixes to wave your belly fat goodbye.