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Lose Stomach Fat Fast With These 10 Diet Hacks

Lose Stomach Fat Fast With These 10 Diet Hacks

Ready to hear the dirty little secret no one tells you about how to lose stomach fat?

The secret is — you can’t. At least, not the way that you think.

Studies show that blasting your abs with tons of crunches won’t trim your belly fat, just like doing curls won’t give you tighter arms and squats won’t give you leaner legs.[1]

Spot reducing fat, or picking and choosing where you’d like to lose fat on your body, is a complete and utter myth.

The only way to get a leaner midsection is to shed fat from your entire body. To do this, you’ll need the right combination of diet strategy and exercise — something you can stick to long enough for your body to start tapping into the fat stores in your belly.

There are as many approaches to losing weight as there are people on this planet, but no matter who you are, here are 10 diet hacks to keep you on track as you lean down in your quest for a flat stomach.

1. Create a Consistent Calorie Deficit

Eating the right number of calories on a daily basis is the number one driver of fat loss.[2] Don’t let the low-fat or low-carb gurus fool you!

What’s the right number of calories?

Well, a calorie is a unit of energy that our bodies primarily derive from food. Every day, we burn a certain number of calories depending on our size, age, gender, and activity levels.

To burn fat, which is to say, to force our bodies to tap into our fat reserves and use them for energy instead of food, we need to eat fewer calories than we burn in a day.

The key is not to overcomplicate your diet by demonizing specific food groups or macronutrients.

Aim for a deficit of about 500 calories per day. The easiest method to calculate this is to multiply by 12 calories per pound of bodyweight and eat that many calories every day.

If you do nothing else on this list except consistently hit your daily calorie target, you WILL lose weight.

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2. Eat Slower and Be Patient

Eating fewer calories to lose weight is really simple, but that’s not to say that it’s easy.

Forcing your body to burn its fat stores for energy is an uncomfortable process that might leave you feeling drained and with less energy, while getting used to smaller meals may leave you feeling hungry at first.

One great workaround is to eat slower, chew more, and be patient.

There is evidence to support the idea that eating more slowly can increase how satisfied and full some people feel after a meal, and decrease your desire to eat more.[3]

It simply takes time for your stomach to communicate to your brain that it’s full and satisfied! If you eat quickly, you might bypass this signal and wind up eating more than you really needed to feel full.

Not only that, but it takes a solid 2 to 3 hours for your body to convert food you’ve just eaten into actual, usable energy. Even after eating a large meal while dieting, you may still feel hungry, but that doesn’t mean you need to eat more.

If you’re patient enough and allow your body to do its work, you’ll usually feel a jolt of energy a few hours after eating.

3. Eat More Protein

If you hit the right number of calories every day, you’ll be well on your way toward losing your belly, regardless of the overall makeup of your diet.

However, there is lots of evidence to suggest that people interested in fat loss should consider a diet high in protein.

People who eat more protein are generally more satisfied and tend to eat fewer calories overall.[4] Plus, a healthy dose of protein every day will help you preserve more muscle mass and encourage your body to lose more fat.

Your protein needs will vary depending on your gender and activity levels, but most people should shoot for at least 40 to 50 grams of protein every day.

4. Delay Your First Meal

Ever heard of intermittent fasting? It’s an eating style wherein you drastically reduce your eating window during the day while remaining fasted the rest of the time. For example, you might be “allowed” to eat for 8 hours, from noon to 8pm, while the rest of the time you only drink water.

The health benefits of fasting are vast and go far beyond weight loss and include boosts in mood, energy, focus, longevity, and more.

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However, you needn’t jump right into long, extended fasts, though they can be extremely effective.[5]

Try pushing your first meal back just a few hours after you wake up. You’ll likely trigger more fat burning than you would by eating right away, and surprisingly, you’ll probably be a lot less hungry eating nothing than you would after eating a small breakfast.

Even mild fasting can dramatically decrease your overall appetite and calorie intake throughout the day.

5. Work Your Core

I know I said you can’t force your body to lose stomach fat, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared for the day that it does!

Work your abdominal and core muscles 2 to 3 times per week to build strength in your midsection. As you begin to lose fat, you’ll discover better tone and definition in that area than if you ignored it.

What are the best core exercises? Leave the crunches on the bench and try some more challenging moves like:

You can find more here: 5 Killer Stomach Workouts for Impressive Abs

You don’t need much, just 2 to 3 sets of 20 reps or so a few times per week should be plenty to build those abs and prepare them for their big reveal.

6. Do the Right Kind of Cardio

Believe it or not, exercise is completely optional when it comes to losing weight. If you eat the right number of calories, the fat will come off regardless.

However, it will be much easier to create your consistent calorie deficit if you’re active and burning extra calories at least a few times per week. Plus, exercising is a whole lot better for your health that not exercising.

Cardio can definitely help! But you’ll have a few choices for how to go about it:

  • LISS (Low Intensity Steady State): Going for a long walk or light jog would be considered low intensity cardio. The benefits of this kind of exercise are that you’ll burn calories without taxing your body too badly and driving up your appetite. The downside? It can be kind of boring and lengthy, therefore difficult to incorporate on a consistent basis as a result.
  • HISS (High Intensity Steady State): Think going for a long run. The plus side of HISS is that you’ll burn more calories a lot faster when compared to LISS, however these workouts are more draining and difficult to recover from. You may find yourself extremely hungry as a result of the exertion.
  • HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training): HIIT refers to short bursts of intense exercise followed by stretches of rest or long intensity work. Imagine walking on a treadmill and occasionally working in high-speed sprints, or doing a circuit of pushups, air squats, lunges, etc. with rest intervals worked in. These workouts burn a ton of calories quickly and dramatically improve your conditioning, but they can also be difficult for your body to recover from and can drive up your appetite.

Each form of cardio has its place, but for fat loss, I’d recommend sticking mostly with LISS or HIIT workouts to burn extra calories a few times per week.

7. Eat More Filling Foods

Again, hitting a calorie target sounds simple, but that doesn’t make it easy!

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If you find you’re consistently getting hungry throughout the day when trying to stick to a diet, you may need to change up your food choices.

Sure, you could technically lose weight by eating 1200 calories of Doritos every day, though I wouldn’t recommend it!

Your best bet will be to eat lots of nutrient rich foods that satiate your body and take time to digest.

Simple carbs (white bread, sugar, etc.) are unquestionably delicious but offer little nutritional value, so your body churns through them quickly. They might briefly fill your stomach, but they won’t leave you satisfied for long.

Complex carbs (oatmeal, brown rice, sweet potatoes) and lean proteins (chicken, turkey) will keep you full for longer and better fuel your body for any workouts you might incorporate.

8. Utilize Strategic Refeeds and Diet Breaks

You likely won’t need these strategies when you first begin your diet, but as you start to see results and get to a lower body fat percentage, you might find your body needs a break every now and then.

After all, burning your own fat for energy is difficult on the body and mind. Long-term adherence to the diet is a lot more important than getting results as fast as possible.

Consider adding in one refeed day per week, where you eat an additional 500 calories or so (usually complex carbs). This will help restore your body’s energy and promote a healthy metabolism.

You can also take a 2 to 4 week diet break, where you eat your body’s maintenance calories (around bodyweight times 15 calories per day) and allow yourself to recover and rejuvenate.

Funny enough, you may find that eating more actually encourages your body to shed some of the fat it’s been desperately clinging to. Studies show that people who take strategic breaks from dieting now and then have better long-term fat loss results.[6]

9. Get More Sleep

So much of adhering to a fat loss diet comes down to willpower and mental focus.

Know what the number one killer of willpower is? A lack of sleep.

Sleep deprivation can cause chaos with your hormonal balance and ability to regulate your appetite, but more importantly, it can leave you with very little self-control. People who don’t sleep enough find themselves snacking more and overeating more frequently.[7]

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Shoot for 7 to 9 hours per night to feel your best. Go to bed earlier if need be, and definitely consider shaking up the bedtime routine.

Blue light from phones, computers, and TVs, for example, is known to disrupt sleep patterns. Opt for a book before bed if you’re having trouble getting to sleep on time.

10. Track Everything

An extra bite of your friend’s dessert here, a quick snack there, and another dollop of sauce or oil on your plate… It all adds up, and those extra calories can easily derail your diet if you’re not careful.

To be sure you’re hitting your calorie goal every day, it’s best to track everything, even if you’re only using your best estimation (though calorie counters can help, too).

Tracking meals is one thing, but for the best results you’ll want to write down every single thing you take into your body including sauce, oil, sides, snacks, drinks, and more.

Forgetting about that 300 to 500 extra calories you had during the day will be the difference between losing belly fat fast, and not.

The Bottom Line

I wish there was an easy way to quickly lose fat from your belly, believe me!

What more people need to understand is that, although targeted fat loss is impossible, fat doesn’t come off of your body completely evenly, either.

For many people, especially men, the stomach is their body’s absolute favorite place to store fat. You may need to lose a significant amount of weight before your body is ready to start tapping into its belly stores.

Remember to set your calorie target and focus on hitting it every single day. Exercising, getting lots of protein, and incorporate tricks to stay motivated can really help, but the energy deficit is the primary driver and fat loss and should be your main priority.

You’ll likely need to stick with the plan for a long time before that stomach completely flattens out.

More Articles About Losing Weight

Featured photo credit: Gesina Kunkel via unsplash.com

Reference

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Evan Porter

Fitness Enthusiast, Expert Researcher, and Full-Time Dad. Author and owner of The Trusty Spotter and Dad Fixes Everything.

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

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Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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