In a world reaching for smart homes, smartphones and self-driving cars, one can please develop a weight loss button to push instant convenience? Hold on to that button, because Mike Bohl, MD, MPH, ALMDirector of Medical Content & Education at Ro and member of our Board of Physicians, reveals five ways to melt your bloated belly on autopilot.
Excess belly fat is like the guests you’ve invited to dinner too many times that are too much fun, they just are won’t go. (You know exactly who we’re talking about!) Not only is extra weight on your gut frustrating to look at, but it’s also very unhealthy. In fact, belly fat is more dangerous than fat in other parts of your body, according to research done by UT Southwestern.
Dr. Bohl explains it this way. When most individuals think of body fat, it is subcutaneous fat, which is under your skin. This includes fat that you can pinch on your legs, butt, and arms. Dr. Bohl says extra subcutaneous body fat is commonly associated with a “pear-shaped” torso.
Visceral fat, however, refers to your “belly fat.” It is located deep in your abdomen surrounding your organs. Extra visceral fat is linked to having an “apple-shaped” body. Dr. Bohl states, “Visceral fat is more harmful to your health and is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers.”
If you have belly fat that you are ready to burn, let’s start with these five very simple daily habits that you can incorporate into your routine. They are very effective in helping you melt away your unwanted belly bulge.
First of all, it is important to know that you cannot exercise to lose weight on any specific part of the body. “Point reduction,” unfortunately, is a myth. For example, your arm routine will not cause you to lose fat on your arms. A ton of crunches will strengthen your abdominal muscles, but they won’t get rid of your stomach. Good news? Whatever exercise you do will help you burn calories and lose weight overall.
Dr. Bohl says, “When it comes to exercise to get rid of a bloated belly, choose whatever exercise you’re most likely to continue long-term. Aerobic exercise burns calories and can be good to fit in at any time of day (for example, you can walking briskly during breaks at work or after dinner).Resistance training also burns calories when you lift weights and also for long periods of time, because the bigger your muscles are, the more calories they burn throughout the day as part of their normal metabolic process .”
To melt your bloated belly on autopilot, protein is your new BFF. Various studies have revealed that consuming a diet high in protein is associated with lower belly fat. In general, to see a decrease in scale, it is important to include fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. But based on research, Dr. Bohl adds, “Adding quality sources of protein is also important and can be beneficial. If possible, choose lean proteins, such as fish and chicken. Or—better yet—choose complete plant-based proteins, such as quinoa and soy.”
One major secret source of extra calories that you might not think about is alcohol. Mixed drinks have a lot of extra calories, from alcohol to added sugar.
“Research suggests that alcohol consumption is associated with central weight gain, or weight gain in the abdomen. So, to give yourself the best chance of reducing belly fat, limit your alcohol consumption,” says Dr. Bohl.
Cortisol is a stress hormone associated with weight gain, explains Dr. Bohl. Therefore, managing your stress levels is the best way to help prevent a bloated stomach.
Dr. Bohl suggests, “If you’re looking for something to fit into your routine, you can try meditation or breathing exercises at least once a day. Having a regular sleep cycle and getting enough sleep each night can also help manage stress. If you have anxiety chronic, however, it is important to be properly evaluated by health care providers.”
Plain and simple, if you want to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you eat. Unfortunately, your excess belly fat isn’t going anywhere anytime soon if you don’t diet. One easy way to decide on a diet—and stick to it—is to plan your meals.
Dr. Bohl explains, “If you pre-plan (or pre-make) all your meals at the beginning of the week, it’s easier to stay on track without having to think about it every day. You can also pre-plan what your snacks are. if you’re feeling hungry. For example, you can keep low-calorie items like carrots or celery in the fridge for snacks between meals.”
Alexa is the Deputy Editor of Mind + Body Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and bringing readers interesting fitness, health and self-care topics. Read more about Alexa