One of the most common myths associated with fat loss is the ability to spot reduce fat or lose fat in only certain targeted areas of the body.
Unfortunately, there is no possible way anyone can do sit-ups and lose belly fat, or do squats and shed thigh fat.
The best course of action to take when wanting to lose body fat is to follow the basic principles, which are all too often overlooked.
There is no magic pill or method that can result in an instant loss of body fat. It takes a lot of hard work, determination, consistency, and patience to get your desired results.
While a slim waist and a smaller belly is the goal for many people, the way to achieve this isn’t to target these areas, but to target the whole body, inside and out!
So, what’s the secret to fat loss?
The Simple Way to Lose Fat
Before we get onto the more practical steps, it’s important to acknowledge and understand how it all works.
Calories is a buzzword in the fitness and nutrition industry, with some people claiming they don’t matter and others claiming they do.
In short: calories do matter and are the only determinant of fat loss and fat gain.
Calories are a unit of energy, measuring the energy we get from consuming food. We use this energy to move, survive, and exercise every day.
The number of calories we burn and consume (calorie balance, or calories in vs calories out) is what determines our body weight.
For example, if we eat more calories than we burn, we will gain fat. On the contrary, if we eat fewer calories than we burn, we lose fat.
The key to fat loss is being in a calorie deficit over a prolonged period, which is the principle every modern-day diet is built on.
Once you understand this simple principle, you then begin to realize that many fad diets and nutrition plans that you find on the internet are simply all asking the same thing - to be in a calorie deficit.
The only difference is how they advise achieving it. So understanding the key principle will allow you to choose your method of achieving it.
What it commonly boils down to is making some simple diet and lifestyle changes that work for you personally, and tracking your progress, and making changes as you go.
This brings us to the top 6 ways in which you can apply this principle, adjusting each point to work for your personal lifestyle.
Let’s get into it!
6 Ways to Burn Belly Fat
1) Reduce food intake
As we have established, the only way to lose weight is to consume fewer calories than we burn. This would mean that slightly reducing overall food intake would be the first port of call.
At this point, the types of foods are not all that important, it’s more the quantity of the food you’re consuming.
To further elaborate, reducing portion sizes, snacking frequency, limiting high-calorie takeaways, and having meal cut-off times (such as no eating after 8pm) would all influence how much food you are consuming.
Manipulating this factor first and foremost is sometimes all anyone needs to see results.
2) Increase protein, whole foods, fruits, and vegetables
Now, it’s important to note that weight loss does not equal health. While we can manipulate the amount of food we’re eating to lose weight, we still need to stay healthy.
To stay healthy, we need to be eating the right foods. This won’t just ensure we are taking in the nutrients we need to function optimally, but it will also assist with weight loss.
Increasing your consumption of good sources of protein, and eating more fruit, vegetables, and whole foods will keep your body functioning how it should and will keep you full and satisfied.
This will reduce your cravings, help control your appetite, and will keep you feeling healthy and motivated to tackle a weight loss challenge.
3) Avoid “trigger” foods
Once you have the above two points dialed in, it’s important to then address more of the psychological side to eating.
Trigger foods are described as foods that set off a binge cycle - something that triggers the phenomenon of craving and needing more once you begin to eat it.
It’s similar to the mentality behind the intention to eat 2 cookies and then finish the packet.
Your trigger foods must be addressed and avoided in the initial period of a weight loss plan. Work on slowly introducing them back in once you feel confident to do so.
4) Increase physical activity levels
Now the nutrition (the energy you take in) has been addressed, it’s time to look at physical activity (the energy you expend).
Though, this does not mean joining a gym and running on a treadmill 6 days a week. Much like addressing your overall food intake, at this stage, you would want to address your overall daily movement.
Becoming more physically active in areas of your everyday life would be hugely beneficial for calorie burning and weight loss.
Going for walks, taking the stairs, cleaning your home, gardening, and commuting to work are all examples of times you move in your everyday life. The more movement you incorporate, the more calories you burn.
Find opportunities throughout your day where you can incorporate some movement or activity.
Now onto exercise, the more routine part of your physical activity plan.
It is recommended to exercise moderately around 150 minutes per week to keep your mind and body healthy.
Exercise plays a big role in your health and physique. So, if you want to look toned and healthy underneath the body fat you are working to burn off, it’s important to incorporate a few sessions of exercise per week.
This could be resistance training, running, joining a sports team, or any other physically demanding hobby.
6) Manage your sleep and stress
You could have all the above factors dialed in, but if your sleep is suffering, so will your health and motivation.
Sleep is one of the most overlooked principles of health and wellbeing. When we don’t get enough sleep, we’re more susceptible to cravings and overeating, as well as skipping exercise sessions and refusing to move around.
This can all harm your progress, so it’s key to maintain a healthy sleep schedule that will not only boost your physical and mental health but also assist your weight loss goals.
Stress is something that affects everyone on some level. While it is a normal experience for many of us, being chronically stressed can have a more negative impact than we may think.
Once you have your stress and sleep under control, you will find weight loss much easier to achieve.
The Final Take-Home
While it is not possible to spot-reduce fat, or target fat loss in certain areas of your body, it is still possible to reduce overall body fat, which is a much better outcome.
There is no magic diet or pill which will make this happen. Weight loss requires patience, consistency, and hard work.
However, it also requires knowledge of the key principle. Without knowing how fat loss works, it would be difficult to adjust your diet and lifestyle to align with this principle and get results.
This is often why people opt for unrealistic and unsustainable diets - they are too restrictive and are not personalized to your needs and lifestyle.
Making some simple diet and lifestyle changes and chipping away at it over a prolonged period will elicit results.
Though, if you do need a small boost to help your body burn more fat, stay lean, and improve your energy and performance, our top pick is Burn Lab Pro!