How to Burn Tummy Fat

Three Parts:Changing Your DietIncreasing Physical ActivityManaging Your Lifestyle

Excessive abdominal fat or visceral fat has been linked to cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, gallbladder issues, colorectal cancer and breast cancer.[1] The need to maintain a healthy lifestyle is clear, but establishing a regimen that works within your schedule can be difficult. To lose tummy fat, you will need to lose weight overall; there is no way to "spot treat" or "target" a certain type of fat.[2] You can lose excess tummy fat if you make changes to three key component of your life: diet, exercise, and lifestyle.[3] The combination of these factors can help you not only lose excess visceral fat and weight, but also improve your overall health.

Part 1
Changing Your Diet

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    Eat smaller portions. If you want to lose excess tummy or visceral fat, you'll need to lose weight overall. It's impossible to spot treat and only lose weight in and around your stomach. Eating smaller portions can help you lose the extra weight.[4]
    • There are a variety of ways to cut back on your portions, overall food intake and daily calorie intake. Monitoring this will help you lose weight.
    • Use a food scale or measuring cups to make sure you portion out the correct sizes for each food and your total meal.
    • You can also try eating off of smaller plates and bowls or serving yourself smaller amounts.
    • Counting calories is another way to cut back on your portions and overall food intake. Cutting out about 500 calories daily will generally result in about a 1-2 pound weight loss per week.[5]
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    Choose lean protein sources. Focusing on healthy, leaner protein sources can help you lose weight and decrease the amount of excess stomach fat that you have.
    • Leaner protein sources are lower in fat and calories. They can help fill you up and keep you satisfied without adding too many calories to your day.[6]
    • Protein sources that are higher in fat — like fatty meat or full fat dairy — not only come with extra calories and fat, but also have been linked to some negative side effects. If you consume high quantities of these higher fat proteins, you may increase your risk for high cholesterol levels.[7]
    • Choose leaner sources of protein like: poultry, fish, legumes, tofu and low-fat dairy products. Also make sure to eat the appropriate portion size which is about 3-4 oz of protein per serving.[8]
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    Eat enough fiber. Eating enough fiber daily will help you maintain your overall health but also help you lose weight and decrease your visceral fat stores.[9]
    • Fiber is found in a wide variety of foods. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are great sources of fiber. Aim to eat about 25-38 g of fiber daily.[10]
    • Consume 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Fruits and vegetables are a great source of fiber, but also many essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Aim for 1/2 cup of fruit or 1 cup of vegetables or 2 cups of leafy greens per serving.[11][12]
    • Go for 100% whole grains. In addition to fruits and vegetables, whole grains are another great source of fiber as well as protein and many B vitamins. A serving is about 1 oz or 1/2 cup.[13] However, you may want to limit the amount of grains you eat, as low carb diets help you lose excess faster than low calorie or low-fat diets.[14]
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    Add healthy fats to your diet. According to some studies, adding heart healthy fats like Omega-3 fats can help you fight excess weight and visceral fat.[15]
    • These heart-healthy fats can also help improve blood pressure, improve blood vessel function and lower triglycerides.[16]
    • Examples include: olive oil, flaxseed, nuts, seeds, olives, avocados, salmon, tuna and mackerel.
    • Avoid unhealthy fats like trans fat or high amounts of saturated fat. Both of these have been shown to have negative effects on your overall health (especially your heart and arteries). These fats are found in processed foods, processed meats, full fat dairy and fatty cuts of meat.[17]
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    Limit simple processed carbohydrates. Simple and very processed carbohydrates (like sugar and white bread) have been linked to increased risk for heart disease, obesity and visceral fat storage.[18] Limiting these foods can help you decrease your excess tummy fat and improve overall health.
    • Simple carbohydrates refers to those types of carbs that are simple in their chemical nature. Sugars of all sorts fall into this category. When they are highly processed as well, they have fewer nutrients.[19] Examples include: white bread, cake, cookies, ice cream, plain pasta, white rice, candy, sweetened beverages, pastries and cereals. These all contain high levels of highly processed, simple carbohydrates and refined sugar.
    • Instead of eating these foods, if you choose to have a grain (like bread, rice or pasta), choose 100% whole grains. As mentioned before, they are much higher in fiber and other beneficial nutrients. In addition, they've been shown to help decrease excess fat.

Part 2
Increasing Physical Activity

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    Include 2 1/2 hours of cardio each week. Cardio exercise plays a more important role when you're trying to decrease your stomach fat.[20]
    • Include at least 150 minutes or 2 1/2 hours weekly. Some experts even recommend doing 60 minutes daily specifically for decreasing visceral fat.[21]
    • Activities that will count as moderate-intensity cardio include: fast walking, jogging, using the elliptical swimming or doing an aerobics class.
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    Make one to two days high intensity interval training. HIIT exercises or high intensity interval training can also help decrease excess stomach fat.[22]
    • HIIT is a type of cardio that alternates between short bouts of very, very high intensity activities and more moderate-intensity activities. It gets your heart up very high, however the overall exercise session lasts for a short period of time.
    • In addition to decreasing fat mass, HIIT workouts also burn a lot of calories and help keep your metabolism raise for several hours after completing the workout.[23]
    • Examples of a HIIT style workout would be: sprinting on an incline for two minutes, followed by five minutes of jogging on a flat surface and then repeating this cycle for a total of 20–30 minutes.
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    Increase your baseline activity. Increasing how much you move and walk throughout the day can support your desire to lose weight and decrease your stomach fat.
    • Baseline activities are things you do in your typical day. For example, folding clothes, toweling off after a shower, walking to your car, and cleaning. These can increase your activity level when they are done with enthusiasm and vigor.[24]
    • These activities do not burn many calories or raise your heart rate much by themselves, however at the end of the day, the benefits of many of these activities can add up to support your weight loss.[25]
    • Think about your current day and schedule and find areas where you can move more or take more steps. You might start taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking farther away, squatting down to the floor to pick things up and put them away, toweling yourself off energetically, or doing jumping jacks during commercial breaks.
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    Include one to two days of strength training each week. Although cardio has the most impact on decreasing levels of stomach fat[26], adding in strength training can still provide with you a variety of health benefits.
    • Strength training can help you increase and maintain lean muscle mass, improve bone density and decrease your risk for osteoporosis and increase your metabolism.
    • Include weight training, isometric exercises or a yoga or pilates class a few times a week to help you reap the benefits of strength training.
    • Do not only do abdominal exercises as spot training does not work. You need to lose excess fat everywhere from your body and tone your entire body for you to notice a decrease in the size of your abdomen.

Part 3
Managing Your Lifestyle

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    Sleep seven to nine hours nightly. Multiple studies have shown that those people who do not sleep well or enough are at a higher risk of a variety of health conditions including obesity and higher rates of visceral fat.[27]
    • It's typically recommended to sleep at least seven to nine hours per night. Try going to bed earlier or waking up later if you can.[28]
    • It's also recommended to turn off all electronic devices that produce light or noise so that you can get a sound and restful sleep.
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    Manage stress. Studies have also shown that those people with low-grade or chronic stress are predisposed to being overweight and storing that weigh around their mid sections.[29]
    • Stress releases a hormone called cortisol. This seems to have an effect on how you're able to lose weight and where your body choose to store excess energy or fat.[30]
    • Manage stress the best you can. There are a variety of techniques and things you can do to de-stress and relax like: reading a book, journaling, meditation, exercising or talking to a supportive friend or family member.
    • If you're having increased difficulty managing stress, consider speaking to mental health professional. They will be able to guide on more specific methods for stress management.
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    Give up smoking and alcohol. In addition to changing diet and increasing exercise, it's also recommended to stop smoking and drinking alcohol as both of these behaviors can lead to excess abdominal fat.[31][32]
    • Quit smoking cold turkey or talk to your primary care doctor about prescription smoking cessation medications or ask for a referral to a smoking cessation program. The quicker you can kick the habit, the better.
    • Limit alcohol as much as possible or keep it a minimum. Women shouldn't have more than one drink daily and men shouldn't have more than two drinks per day.[33]


  • Always talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diet, exercise or lifestyle. Also talk to them about your desire to lose weight and decrease excess stomach fat.
  • Drink more water. Dehydration can slow the metabolism and prevent fat loss. The general recommendation is to drink between eight and 13 glasses of water daily.
  • Exercises like sit ups, crunches and other "spot training" moves may help strengthen your abdominal muscles but it will not reduce fat.

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Categories: Losing Weight