Losing weight is difficult for anyone, but losing belly fat can seem impossible, especially if you’re in a rush to look your best. So you decide to Google “how to lose belly fat in two weeks” in hopes of finding some guidance.
Lawrence Cheskin, M.D., chair of the department of nutrition and food studies at George Mason University and associate professor of health, behaviour & society at Johns Hopkins University, says that while you should never feel obligated to lose weight, it is a worthy goal to lose belly fat because it is “unfortunately the most dangerous location to store fat.” Belly fat, also called visceral fat or the deep abdominal fat that surrounds your organs, is more likely to increase the amount of fat in your blood, raise your blood sugar levels, and put you at a higher risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes because it circulates throughout the bloodstream more regularly.
Why does belly fat usually form?
Gaining weight is a bit complicated, but “belly fat typically forms from consuming too many calories,” according to Keri Gans, R.D., author of The Small Change Diet. However, it is impossible to prevent fat from accumulating in certain areas of the body. The location of that mass is entirely out of our hands, as Gans puts it. Depending on one’s genetic makeup, gender, and/or age, “it usually ends up on our belly or hips and thighs.”
Author of The Little Book of Game-Changers and registered dietitian Jessica Cording warns that putting on weight rapidly increases the risk of developing belly fat. But, as she points out, “certain physiques are predisposed to accumulating tummy fat.” Other factors, such as lack of sleep and stress, can also increase the likelihood of belly fat.
How to get rid of belly fat in 14 days
Losing weight can be accomplished through dietary changes and physical activity. Watching what you eat is essential, but fad diets that are too restrictive and promise rapid weight loss should be avoided at all costs, as these can be unhealthy and counterproductive, according to Spectrum Nutrition.
Johns Hopkins study participants who followed a low-carb diet lost an extra 10 pounds on average compared to those who followed a low-fat diet. Building lean muscle mass through strength training in addition to moderate aerobic exercise can aid weight loss by increasing basal metabolic rate and reducing resting energy expenditure.
Cording emphasises that losing weight, and keeping it off, is typically a lengthy process. However, there are measures you can take to hasten the procedure.
Recognize that you and your actions will evolve.
Consciously making healthier choices is a major factor in successful weight loss. It’s easy to overindulge in food and drink when you’re socialising with friends at a bar or restaurant during “happy hour.” To correct your course, however, you need only pause for a moment and realise what’s happening. Gagliardi says, “It’s about being conscious of the comfort food I eat and then thinking about what else I can be doing that might give me the same benefit.”
Keeping tabs on caloric intake is a good idea.
The most fundamental strategy for weight loss is simply to expend more energy throughout the day than you take in through food. A weight loss app, or even just a pen and paper, can help you determine how many calories you need to eliminate from your diet or burn at the gym in order to reach your goals, given that 3,500 calories equals one pound of fat. Weight loss of one pound per week is possible by increasing caloric expenditure by 500 calories daily, as recommended by Gagliardi.
You can take a more high-level approach if daily number-crunching isn’t your thing. Gagliardi says that “knowing” something like “typically I eat a whole sandwich” can be enough for some people. Reduce my calorie intake by half by eating only half of a sandwich at lunch and saving the other half for dinner, you say? First, think about these 25 options for reducing your calorie intake by 500 per day.
Increase your intake of fiber.
Refined carbohydrate and sugary food won’t satisfy your hunger, so you’ll keep snacking. Whole grain breads, oats, vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, and chia seeds are just some examples of fibrous foods you should be eating instead. Dr. Cheskin says that because fibre slows digestion, eating them makes you feel fuller for longer.
A study published in 2015 in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that increasing fibre intake alone can help people lose weight, even if they have trouble sticking to a strict diet. According to the most up-to-date recommendations from the United States Dietary Guidelines, women should consume at least 25 grammes of fibre per day (based on a 2,000 calorie diet). Try adopting our high-fiber eating plan first.
Abdominal fat-burning exercises
Aerobic exercises, which burn a lot of calories quickly, are the best kind for losing weight. To name a few illustrations:
Running, as an aerobic activity, helps you shed extra pounds and burn off stubborn belly fat with remarkable efficiency. It improves your cardiorespiratory endurance and physical stamina while activating multiple muscles at once. As a result, your metabolism will speed up and you’ll start burning fat.
Interval training, especially when done at a high intensity, can help people lose weight and burn belly fat more quickly. The goal is to increase metabolism by alternating between periods of exertion and rest. The term “rest” can refer to either an active or passive state. For safety reasons and to make sure the activity is being performed at a challenging level, having a personal trainer present is crucial during this type of training.
Training in Aerobics
In addition to the aforementioned methods, high-intensity aerobic classes, such as step class, combat, and Zumba, are effective for reducing abdominal fat. Aerobic classes are beneficial because they are typically done in a group, where members can support and challenge one another to ensure proper form.
Jumping rope has many health benefits, including strengthening the heart and lungs and increasing muscle tone. This will speed up your metabolism, allowing you to burn more fat and calories. In sum, there are numerous positive effects on one’s health from jumping rope.
Weight loss and the burning of abdominal fat can be further aided by cycling, which, like weight lifting, increases muscle mass and resistance. Numerous muscles are put to use, and the more muscles that are used, the more fat the body can burn.
Consistent, high-velocity walking has been shown to increase metabolism, aid in fat burning, and facilitate the loss of excess weight. However, this can only be accomplished through sustained intervals of high-intensity speed walking for at least 30 minutes. In addition to the exercise, it’s crucial that you eat properly.
If you want to lose weight and get in better shape, swimming is a great choice of exercise because it boosts your cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength, both of which increase your metabolism and facilitate faster fat burning.
Consume a lot of protein.
Protein is essential for repairing the microtears in your muscles that occur during strength training, and it also helps you feel full for longer. This promotes muscle development and reduces fat storage, helping them bulk up. Dr. Cheskin recommends consuming around 70 grammes of protein every day.
This is crucial before hitting the gym. We’ve all been there—working out like crazy, only to be so ravenously hungry that we immediately crave Chipotle. What is the end result? If your caloric intake is higher than your energy expenditure, belly fat is likely to form.
Dr. Cheskin recommends eating a snack containing at least 12 grammes of protein before working out to prevent feeling hungry afterward. Is your stomach still growling after that? Dr. Cheskin recommends first making sure you aren’t just dehydrated and that you are, in fact, hungry. Then, consume a protein-packed snack like a protein bar made with whole grains to replenish your glycogen stores.
Eat more good fats.
As the saying goes, “if you want to lose weight, eat fat” — the good kind.
Meal satisfaction can be increased by including healthy fats in the form of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. In moderation, the unsaturated fatty acids found in foods like olive oil, nuts, avocados, fatty fish, and eggs can help increase satiety while providing a variety of health benefits, according to Yasi Ansari, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D., national media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Adding chopped avocado to salads, eating wild salmon twice a week, and mixing some peanut butter into a post-workout snack or smoothie are all great ways to up your consumption of healthy fats. Ansari warns that you should still eat them in moderation because of how high in calories they are.
It’s safe to start crunching at this point.
While it’s true that spot reduction of fat is impossible, you can work on increasing your overall lean muscle mass, which will aid in your fat-burning efforts. According to DiVecchio, “dozens of muscles” are involved in each and every motion you make between your shoulders and your hips. Picking the right moves is the first step toward a trimmer midsection.
Gagliardi recommends performing abdominal exercises no more than three or four times per week on non-consecutive days, with at least 24 hours rest in between. Simple exercises like crunches, bicycle crunches, and planks are great places to start during those sessions. Activating your core (i.e., tightening your ab muscles) during each and every workout is essential, according to Gagliardi, even if you’re only specifically targeting your abs three or four times per week.
To strengthen your abdominal muscles, you can do a wide variety of exercises without leaving your house. According to DiVecchio, once you’ve established a regular ab routine, you can progress to more difficult moves like side-to-side med ball slams and weighted Russian twists.
Don’t let stress get the best of you.
While stress can have a negative impact on your health in general, how you choose to cope with it can make or break your efforts to slim down. Dr. Cheskin believes that the effects of stress are primarily behavioural rather than neurochemical. If we’re feeling stressed, it’s easy to turn to food as a coping mechanism.
It’s true that it’s much simpler to reach for a comfort food rather than deal with stressful situations head-on. Dr. Cheskin explains that people are drawn to activities that don’t need other people to complete, provide instant gratification, and don’t demand a lot of effort, such as opening a box or package.
If you eat when you’re stressed, you’ll gain weight, not lose it. Stop and ask yourself, “What is causing my stress, and what can I do about it?” if you find yourself reaching for food as a coping mechanism when you’d be better off asking yourself these questions. Instead of reaching for a bag of Doritos, try fixing the problem or talking it out with a counsellor.
Keep away from the sweets.
Studies have shown a correlation between sugar consumption and increased abdominal fat. Cording claims that “added sugar is a very large contributor of excess calories.” It can aid in creating a healthy calorie deficit, which in turn aids in weight loss “if you’re not replacing it with other sources of calories.”
According to Cording, high and low blood sugar levels can be caused by eating too much sugar. And because of the fatigue and hunger that can accompany these drops, it can increase the likelihood that you’ll overeat.
Get plenty of good sleep.
Sleep plays a major role in your ability to lose weight, whether you get too much or too little of it. Dr. Cheskin warns that “sleeping too much” can have negative effects on health. But getting too little sleep is much worse.
For example, a 2017 UK review and meta-analysis found that individuals who slept 5.5 hours or less per night consumed 385 more calories than those who slept between 7 and 12 hours per night the following day. Moreover, they favoured high-fat, low-nutrient foods like chips as their snack of choice.
Your ability to lose weight may be hampered by the fact that you have more time to snack and make other unhealthy choices if you are sleeping less than eight hours per night. Dr. Cheskin says that the ideal amount of sleep is seven or eight hours, but that the number will vary from person to person.
Cut back on the booze.
It’s true that cutting back on food intake will lead to weight loss, but doing so when you’re feeling hungry can be difficult. Just one effective strategy? Get rid of the foods that aren’t helping you reach your goals and make room for the ones that will. Alcohol is a major contributor to this problem, but it also includes sugary drinks like soda.
Ansari claims there are multiple mechanisms by which alcohol prevents weight loss. One of these mechanisms is that it stimulates food intake after heavy consumption. The liver can become overworked from excessive drinking. Ansari explains that after consuming alcohol, the body’s liver will put alcohol processing ahead of other nutrients, leading to the protein, carb, and fat being stored as fat. The CDC considers drinking five or more drinks in less than two hours to be binge drinking, while for women this threshold is set at four. In addition, many alcoholic drinks are mixed with sodas or other sugary drinks. “The calories can really add up if you drink more than a few drinks at a time,” she warns.
Furthermore, studies show that regular alcohol consumption, even of a moderate amount, can lead to weight gain. One study from 2016 found that when people drink to excess, they lose control of their impulses and make poor decisions. What is the end result? A midnight pizza craving is almost impossible to avoid. Women should limit themselves to one drink per day, and men should limit themselves to two. (Pick one of these light alcoholic beverages.)
Increase the frequency with which you prepare meals.
A 2017 study found that spending more time in the kitchen could aid weight loss, particularly in the abdominal region, provided that the right foods were used. U.K. researchers analysed the eating habits of over 11,000 men and women and found that those who ate at least five home-cooked meals per week were 28% less likely to have a high body mass index and 24% less likely to carry too much body fat than those who only ate at home three times per week.
Researchers state that people who prepare most of their own meals may also engage in other healthy routines. They did, however, find that people who prepared their own food tended to eat more fruits and vegetables (and a wider variety of foods), use less salt and sugar in their cooking, and cut back on calorie- and sugar-dense treats. One option for getting started is one of the books I’ve listed below about healthy eating.
Keep away from packaged and processed foods.
Added sugar isn’t the only culprit when it comes to weight gain, says Cording; he adds that the excess calories you might consume from eating processed foods can be just as problematic. She goes on to say that inflammation in the body is a major factor in the accumulation of belly fat, and that many processed foods are a major source of this inflammation.
Eliminate or greatly reduce your intake of simple carbohydrates.
Cereal, white bread, and cookies are all examples of simple carbohydrates, which the body quickly turns into sugar and can cause a disruption in blood sugar balance and inflammation throughout the body, as explained by Cording. She explains that eating too many simple carbs can contribute to the development of belly fat because it causes blood sugar levels to fluctuate.
Avoid sugary drinks such as sodas and juices.
According to Gans, sugary drinks like soda and fruit juice contain calories but don’t help you feel full. Losing weight is as simple as cutting back on “excess calories,” she says. Juices have an inaccurate health halo, while sodas are generally known to be liquid sugar, according to Cording. The fibre in whole fruits helps digestion go more slowly than in fruit juice, she says. As a result of its rapid absorption into the blood, a blood sugar crash may follow. She recommends eliminating these beverages from your diet to help you control your blood sugar.