Studies, Results and Conclusions: How to Lose 7 cm. Belly Fat in 6 Weeks
The dangers of belly fat are real enough: a new study even concludes it shrinks the brain. Seriously.
A fatty belly can make you feel uncomfortable and less confident. But you know that.
What you might not know is that the real problem lies not with what you can pinch / grasp / tug, but with the fat in your abdomen and surrounding your internal organs – the visceral fat.
Studies have shown visceral fat puts us at higher risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and in women it’s even shown to increase the risk of breast cancer.
A smaller brain is just icing on the cake.
Oh, inappropriate metaphor!
So What Can You Do to Melt That Fat?
Well, you don’t have to do 10,000 push ups or hang upside down like a bat all day murmuring Ommmmmm.
Though both of those WOULD help : ) as we have explained here.
First off, let’s acknowledge that everyone’s biology and temperament is different. In this post, we look at studies for diet and exercise; if you are interested in neither or just want to supplement your results, see here. Or you can try this, a wildly popular product.
Generally speaking, it’s assumed that there’s a roughly 80/20 split between the importance of diet versus exercise. So we looked at an Oxford University study that examined 2 groups. I should note that the results of this study are broadly consistent with other findings: we are just making it as simple and uncomplicated as possible for the purposes of this post.
For a comprehensive overview, see here 0195312910.pdf (dphu.org) . For a study with almost identical results but more procedures tested (one included only drinking milk: spoiler alert, no, don’t do that!) see here Effects of an Energy-Restrictive Diet With or Without Exercise on Abdominal Fat, Intermuscular Fat, and Metabolic Risk Factors in Obese Women | Diabetes Care (diabetesjournals.org)
1. Diet for Belly Fat Reduction, Group A
Fact: If you eat 500 calories less than your daily requirement, you’re going to be losing 1.8 kg over 4 weeks.
- Rule 1
No snacking between meals, per the study. 3 meals per day, strict.
- Rule number 2
It’s all about portion size.
Rather than changing what you eat, focus on this. In the study, participants were told to eat no more than a fistful size portion of carbs, 2 palm-sized portions of lean protein and 2 cupfuls of vegetable or salad. Participants could also have 2 fistfuls of fruit and 2 servings of fat or oil covering the tip of the thumb. Throw on top of that 200 ml of skim of semi skim milk OR 2 pots (125 grams) of natural low-calorie yogurt.
- Rule number 3
Nothing! Participants were told they could eat their usual foods. But remember – if you want better results or you want to ‘cheat’ on the plan and your usual food consists of sugary or high-fat foods, you’re obviously going to want to avoid that. See below.
So, let’s look at the results of that study, shall we?
2. Abdominal Exercise for Belly Fat Reduction, Group B
Group B did not change their diet, but performed 10 minute abdominal workouts every day for 6 weeks.
And group B had great results! A 2 cm reduction in their waistline!
What about Group A, with no exercise and a couple dietary restrictions? Good question. We may never know the answer……Or, OK, yes, maybe we do know the answer but want to tease it out before you commit to slogging through the scientific detail and figuring it out for yourself. The results were pretty astonishing, in fact: more than twice as effective as the exercise routine. And let’s remember, those dietary guidelines were pretty mild.
FIVE cm waistline reduction. Don’t believe me? Look it up. That’s 2 inches!
There was also improvement in health parameters, reducing
a) visceral fat by 14%
a) blood pressure
Of course, if you mixed the 2 groups, the results would clearly improve even further still.
So, if you are determined to maximize the benefits of the plan above and want to shed pounds like a champion, we can examine in a bit more detail what to eat and what to do.
10 Foods to Eat
1. Nuts. A couple handfuls a day will keep you feeling full and satisfy your hunger for longer. I know, I know: no snacking. So either you add them to your meal or you mix and match a bit. That was only a sample study to guide you.
2. Protein powder. It has amino acids that burn fat and add muscle. Just toss a couple tablespoons into your skim milk and drop the mini burger from your meal. Also not this study which concludes that conventional food replacement strategies can indeed be effective
3. Olive oil contains mono-unsaturated fats that helps to keep your cholesterol under control and satisfy cravings. Side note: it’s also a general wonder-concoction that deserves and will get a post of its own. It’s also so poorly regulated, even a lot of the ‘organic’ oils are a scam. I’ve got 2 bottles in front of me. One is store-certified extra virgin organic. The other is from a farmer we know through someone else in Greece. Not available in stores because they can’t be bothered to jump through all the hoops. No fancy signage. 1 quarter the price and 4x the quality. Moral of the story: it’s worth asking around at your local market what really is good. I have heard there are some excellent olive oils out of California now.
4. Berries. Another under-the radar wonder food. See our post. And with all that fiber, they perform the same trick with minimal caloric intake – you feel more full.
5. Eggs. Some people have designed entire belly-loss diets around eggs and only eggs. That seems a bit extreme but to each her own : ). Anyway, eggs are loaded with Vitamin B12, which is needed to metabolize fat.
I know what you are thinking. That technically, a modified bacon egg Mcmuffin fits into the original study, which only needs a lean meat substitute.
That’s exactly what you’re thinking!
But let’s keep in mind that participants in that study had different ‘usual’ food routines, and 5cm was the average!
6. Yup, Lean meats and fish, specifically turkey, salmon and tuna are loaded with omega 3’s, whose function in the universe is to block stress chemicals that promote fat abs.
7. Milk! You have your skim milk up there anyway, and calcium helps to break down fat and prevent it from forming.
8. Oatmeal. I’ll take a pass on this one because it bores me too much but oatmeal does boost energy, reduce cholesterol, maintain blood sugar levels, help burn fat and regulate digestion: in other words, it will be mandatory for all of us by the time we turn 80 anyway.
9. Apples. Because doctors and teachers love them and who are we to argue? Apples contain a lot of dietary fiber and form the staple of my dog’s diet, for what’s that worth (freeze the chunks so you can escape before he’s done to stare sadly into your eyes again). They also aid the digestive system so you can chop some into your nursing home’s oatmeal.
10. Tomatoes only have about 20-30 calories per and they help you satisfy your hunger. And good tomatoes are just delicious! (I freeze those for him too!)
Add Workouts and Vanish Without a Trace! How to Lose Belly Fat With Exercise
Or of course, lose ‘only’ 2 cm and keep to your usual eating habits. So for less than half the effectiveness we have half the number of exercises!
1. Single forearm plank.
Put your forearms on the ground with the elbows aligned below the shoulders and arms parallel to the body. Now hold this position for 20-30 seconds. See how comfortable it is?!
If that’s too easy (I’m joking), try a knee plank instead by resting the knees on the ground and putting your hands right under your shoulder as though you are about to do a push-up. Hold this for 20-30 seconds. Easy-peasy.
If you’ve been out of it for a while just remember gym class and you’ll be all right. Knees together, hands on chest or temples – NOT behind your neck. That’s called cheating.
3. Basic crunch (try some knee-high ones if you want).
Same / gym class. Lie on floor, hands at side of head, knees bent, and contract your abs by bringing your shoulder blades off the floor. You do need to make sure you are lifting your shoulder off the floor for this exercise to be effective. Obviously, you can add resistance to this one (leg-high crunches for example) if you are particularly gung-ho.
4. Are we done yet? No! Chin up!
Sit-ups and twist. You see this a lot in the gym or, if you haven’t ever been in a gym, then in movies. It is what it sounds like: at the top of the situp, just roate the body in both directions. That is, alternate sides in both directions, every time, ‘twisting’ your body. You may need to anchor your feet if you struggle with this at all.
5. Dorsal raises. Also helpfully known as the Superman exercises. Wonder Woman?
You want to work the lower back muscles after completing the abdominal exercises. So lay face down on the floor. Stretch your arms and legs and slowly raise your chest and legs off the floor while squeezing the lower back – then slowly lower them back to the floor. Try for 3 sets of 10.
Done! (or dead).
Now, aren’t you thankful that the simple diet outlined above is so much more effective?!
The methods and tips outlined above represent an example, one example, of how you can lose your belly fat. As I have indicated, other studies indicate much the same, broadly speaking. The advantage here, obviously, is how little sacrifice you need to make – indeed, how little you need to adjust your own personal habits and disposition.
But you still may want to mix and match to suit your own tempermanent.
We believe in the model offered by intuitive fitness – but that too can encompass different forms of exercise and diet!
I personally use a WaterRower, which I love. For diet I have done keto and we promote that more actively than ever now because of the recent flurry of scientific research that has come out (protecting the heart, improving memory, even bolstering the immune system). Also, that’s just a great product.
However, I never aspired to do keto long term; I cook a lot, am sensitive to ingredients and manage to eat well without compromising my health (My achilles heel for Keto is rice!).
But that’s me, not you. And my genetics, my environment, my temperament are my own.
I have never tried this but we promote it because a) a member of the ‘family’ gave it a thumbs up and b) it’s proven to be extremely popular c) we try to give the facts as we know them, and we don’t judge.
30 years ago doctors thought acupuncture was mystical nonsense and actually, to this day we do not clearly understand exactly how it works. But it does! (or the placebo effect cured my back – it’s possible!)
In short, losing your belly fat is a worthy goal and it’s not as difficult as it seems! Options abound!
Good luck 😊