10 Tips to Target Belly Fat

Article posted in: Diet & Nutrition
a bowl of oatmeal with blueberries to help target belly fat

Belly fat can be seriously stubborn. Even if you’re on a plan and losing weight, it can seem like the fat around your middle just won’t budge. And if you’re apple-shaped, it can feel like it will be the absolute last thing to go. Looking for some tips to target that belly fat? We’re here to help!

You should love the body you’re in. However, if your goal is to lose belly fat, we understand: That stubborn stickiness can be frustrating and demoralizing. More important, fat held around your middle is a health risk. People with visceral fat around their stomachs—the rock-hard kind associated with a beer belly that’s close to your organs—have higher risks of early death, says John Hopkins Medicine. According to Reuters Health, one study found that every 10-centimeter increase in waist size increases the risk of heart failure by 19 percent in women and 30 percent in men.

Reduce your risks by decreasing your belly fat. You can also try these 10 tips to help target that tummy and drop excess pounds.

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Here are 10 tips to help you target belly fat and lose weight:

Tip 1: Exercise.

Lower legs of woman walking in a park

If you are searching for how to target belly fat and want a “fat-burning” workout, you don’t have to soak your clothes in sweat or gasp your way through a high-intensity class. In one study, published in Obesity, people who were “moderately active” reduced their visceral fat levels by 7.4 percent compared to people who were inactive. And if you speed up for short bursts, you can burn even more. According to Ohio State University, “walking at varying speeds can burn up to 20 percent more calories compared to maintaining a steady pace.”

An easy way to do this: While on a 30-minute walk, walk a little bit faster at the start of every new song on your playlist. After 30 seconds or a minute of the song, slow to your normal pace until the next song starts.

Tip 2: Catch up on sleep.

Man sleeping in bed

These tips couldn’t be easier! But getting enough sleep is one of the most important things you can do for fat loss. “Researchers found that persons sleeping less than five hours at night gained more abdominal fat over a five year period, versus those who averaged over six hours per night, says the National Sleep Foundation.

According to UChicago News, one study found that dieters who were sleep-deprived lost weight, but not as much fat. Those who slept for about five hours per night lost 55 percent less fat during the study than those who got about seven hours of shuteye. Aim for seven or eight hours of sleep per night for the best results.

Tip 3: Have oatmeal for breakfast.


Oatmeal doesn’t just help you lose weight—and it does, as it’s packed with more filling protein than almost any other “common” grain, according to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. A morning bowl of oats also helps undo some of the detrimental effects of belly fat, helping with insulin resistance after your meal, says the peer-reviewed journal Nutrients. According to Livestrong.com, one study found that “overweight and obese participants who ate a whole-grain oat cereal twice per day reduced their waist circumference more than the group eating a low-fiber cereal of equal calories, though there was no difference in total weight loss.”

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Tip 4: Top your oatmeal with blueberries.

Oatmeal with blueberries, banana and chia seed

Some studies suggest that the soluble fiber in blueberries—and oatmeal—may specifically target belly fat. In one study of rats at the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center, those that were given blueberries lost more belly fat while dieting than those who lost weight without the berries, says Science Daily. Scientists theorize that the antioxidants in blueberries may be the cause.

Tip 5: Eat more fiber.

woman cooking vegetables

Fiber is crucial for losing weight without feeling hungry. This nutrient, found in vegetables and whole grains, slows down digestion so that you feel fuller for longer. It may also help to target belly fat. According to Science Daily, one study conducted at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center found, “for every 10-gram increase in soluble fiber eaten per day, visceral fat was reduced by 3.7 percent over five years.” That’s one of the reasons why Nutrisystem plans include a requirement to eat at least four servings of non-starchy, fiber-rich vegetables each day.

Tip 6: Sauté vegetables in canola oil.

pouring canola oil into a pan

Canola oil has a higher heat tolerance than olive oil, making it perfect for sautéing some of your daily servings of non-starchy vegetables. But the oil itself may also help you target belly fat: According to Science Daily, a Penn State study found that people who had daily smoothies infused with canola oil lost more belly fat in a month—a quarter-pound more—than other study participants who had a smoothie fortified with another type of oil. “Including canola oil in a healthy diet may help reduce abdominal fat in as little as four weeks,” says Science Daily.

Try using canola oil at snack time: Try this recipe for easy, homemade BBQ Sweet Potato Chips! >

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Tip 7: Eat less saturated fat.

Salmon, Avocado, Oil, Nuts and seeds high in saturated fat

Eating fat isn’t the nutritional no-no it was in the 1990s. However, eating too much saturated fat can still have deleterious health consequences. According to DiabetesSelfManagement.com, “Eating saturated fat leads to the accumulation of more visceral fat and less muscle mass than eating polyunsaturated fat, according to new research published in the journal Diabetes.”

Monounsaturated fats, on the other hand, may also help. According to Science Daily, Penn State researchers found that these so-called “healthy fats” found in certain vegetable oils have been shown to help dieters lose belly fat.

Tip 8: Eat more calcium.

woman drinking orange juice at her kitchen counter

Good news for you cheese lovers: If you’re already on a diet, eating more calcium could help more of the weight you lose come from fat. In a review of 41 studies, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, scientists found that increasing daily calcium intake resulted in a greater reduction in body fat compared to diets without calcium.

It doesn’t have to be all dairy, though: Get more of the bone-strengthening nutrient in your diet with one of these seven surprising sources of calcium! > From fortified orange juice to figs, there are plenty of sweet and tasty options.

Tip 9: Snack on some almonds.

woman holding a handful of almonds

One of those calcium-rich foods: Almonds. Swapping those little brown nuts in place of a higher-carb snack has also been found to help people lose belly fat. In one study of 48 people with elevated “bad” cholesterol, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, those who were given a daily almond snack lost fat in their legs and bellies, even if they didn’t lose weight.

As with any nutty snack, watch your portions. If you go overboard, a cup of almonds can add over 800 calories to your daily diet, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Consult your Grocery Guide and stick to a one PowerFuel serving: Two tablespoons of almonds can help you burn fat and stay on track.

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Tip 10: Have dark chocolate for dessert.

how to target belly fat

It’s a delicious way to end your day—and target that stubborn belly fat. Even for people who aren’t dieting, dark chocolate can help reduce belly fat: In one study, published in the European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences, scientists studied women who had body weights in the “normal” range, but body fat levels in the “obese” range. When they gave some of these women dark chocolate each day, these study participants saw their waists shrink due to a loss of abdominal fat. Luckily, Nutrisystem is the diet that embraces eating your favorites—like chocolate!

Looking for more easy tips to lose belly fat? Explore the Nutrition section here on The Leaf!