Are you tired of trying crazy crash diets and “magic” diet pills? Are you currently on a diet that’s keeping the weight off but is also making you exhausted and miserable? Want to learn how to lose belly fat naturally? Well, you’ve come to the right place!
As a certified health coach, I will teach you what I know works based on personal experience as well as the reasons why they work.
My goal for you is to get you into ketosis, which is when your body is in a constant fat burning state, giving you long term energy and nutrients as well as losing that extra belly fat.
Since beach season isn’t that far away, let’s dive right in and start shedding some pounds!
When you Eat Vs. What you Eat
The 1st important thing to learn if you want to know how to lose belly fat naturally is when to eat. Did you know that deciding when you eat may be more important than choosing what you eat?
Intermittent fasting has shown numerous health benefits in addition to helping speed up weight loss. Intermittent fasting is basically setting blocks of time in your daily schedule where you don’t eat.
Contrary to popular belief, this is actually quite healthy for the human body and is very different from starvation. For millions of years our ancestors had a hunting/gathering lifestyle. It was natural for them to go longer periods of time without eating.
By fasting, we give the body a chance to go through it’s proper digestive journey. In a nutshell, by eating only in a certain time window, your body uses up that energy first.
After it uses the energy from your food, it will start to take energy stored in your fat cells and burn them up, causing weight loss.
There are many different ways that you can fast intermittently. Some people do a 24 hour fast 2-3 times a week just drinking water and tea during fast times.
I found that to be a little too extreme for my lifestyle, So I do the 16/8 fast, eating only in an 8 hour window and fasting the rest of the day.
After a week I significantly found that I had more energy, and I lost 10 pounds in the first two weeks without even changing my diet.
Do you remember the popular girls counting their calories in every old teenage movie? Well, there’s a method to their madness. Counting calories is one of the key factors one must understand if they want to learn how to lose belly fat naturally.
Women need about 2000 calories per day to maintain her weight and about 1500 calories per day to lose one pound per week without exercise.
Men can have 2500 calories per day and must eat 2000 calories per day if they want to lose one pound per week.
Never forget that our bodies are amazing, complicated machines and that these numbers matter. 3500 calories equals one pound of fat, so if you’re trying to lose 20 pounds, you need to burn 70,000 calories!
Always check the nutrition label on anything before you put it in your mouth. Some things will surprise you.
The goal is to eat things with lower calories and higher nutritional values like fruits and veggies. Do this and you’ll be skinnier, stronger, and healthier than ever before!
Things to Cut Out
The 2nd most important thing to assess if you want to learn how to lose belly fat naturally is how much processed food you’re eating. Basically, if it doesn’t come straight from the earth, consider it processed.
The next time you go grocery shopping, take a few extra seconds to look at the nutrition label in the back. How many chemicals are there that you can’t even pronounce?
If someone gave you a bowl of goo and told you that it was the same stuff that made your cereal, would you still eat it?
Our bodies were not made to process foods made by man. This can cause things like weight gain, diabetes, autism, chronic acne, cancer, and all other sorts of nasty things.
The scary part is that in today’s diet more than 50% of our calorie intake comes from highly processed foods!
Some of the most popular processed foods to cut from your diet are:
- Ice Cream
- Breakfast Cereals
- Deli Meats
- Microwave Dinners
- Packaged Soups
If you were to ask me who my number one enemy is, I would tell you it was sugar. Sugar is the body’s favorite drug, and studies have shown that sugar can be just as addictive as cocaine!
According to the American Heart Association, women are only supposed to have 25g of sugar every day in order to stay healthy and avoid weight gain. Nutritionally, it is very high in calories but gives back very little nutritional value.
In addition, eating lots of sugar makes your body produce more insulin. After so many years of the same eating habits, many people end up with diabetes and other yucky diseases.
As of 2015, over 84 million adults were living with prediabetes, and 90% didn’t even know it! That’s 1 out of every 3 people. A terrifying thought.
The good news is, that with the right diet and eating habits, prediabetes can be reversible. Cutting the sugar gives your body a break from producing insulin, and gives your body the chance to use fat cells and burn them as energy.
The big problem is that sugar is in almost everything! Some surprising sources of hidden sugar are:
- Bottled sauces and dressings
- Fruit Juices
- Energy Drinks
- Diet Foods that are “fat free/low fat”
A Side Story About Sugar
Though I have had a sweet tooth since I was a kid, I’ve seen first hand what sugar does to the body. When I was about 15, I got bit by a tick while I was on a camping trip. I had the tell-tale red ring around the bite; one of the first signs of lymes disease.
Within a week I was tested positive and given medication to fight it. Not only did the medication have some crazy side effects, but they didn’t work as intended. My lymes disease got worse.
After about a year I visited a holistic doctor who told me how sugar is the food for most human diseases, including cancer and lymes disease.
She told me to follow a strict sugar free diet plan for six months and the lymes wouldn’t be able to survive in my body. Well, she was right.
After six months of eating basically meat, nuts and vegetables, I felt better than ever. I went back to the doctor for my checkup and came back negative for lymes disease. Not to mention that I lost 20 lbs and had more muscle than ever before!
I had to make this it’s own category after I learned about what American’s drink on an average day. If you want to learn how to lose belly fat naturally, I would say that sugary drinks are the first type of sugar to ease out of your diet.
It’s much easier to consume sugar by drinking it rather than eating it. And like any drug, once we get used to a certain sweetness, it isn’t so sweet anymore. And companies end up putting more sugar into our drinks so we keep buying.
Keep in mind that men are only supposed to have 37.5g of added sugar and women only 25g of sugar per day. Below is a list of some popular drinks and how much sugar they have:
- 12-oz can of cola- 32g of added sugar
- Bottle of Root Beer- 37g of added sugar
- 32 oz. Gatorade- 30g of added sugar
- 32 oz. Powerade- 40g of sugar
- 8.4 oz. Red Bull- 37g of sugar
- 8 oz. Apple Juice- 24g of sugar
- 20 oz. Vitamin Water-32g of sugar
While we’re on the topic of beverages, the next thing to consider when learning how to lose belly fat naturally is your alcohol consumption.
First, alcohol is very high in calories and serves no almost nutritional value. Second, unlike fats and sugars, the body cannot store alcohol and must get rid of it immediately.
The reason we gain weight from excess drinking is because any food that we end up eating afterwards pushes us over our healthy calorie intake for the day, causing our body to store it all as fat.
This is one of the big reasons for the “freshman 15”. Many people eat whatever they want in high school without gaining a pound.
But once college rolls around and booze is consumed at every party, followed by the fast food they always ate before, their body can’t process all the calories so it turns them into fat.
However, you don’t have to cut alcohol completely from your life in order to lose belly fat. Just make sure you eat before you drink, and try to stay away from mixed drinks and stick to straight liquor instead to avoid the hidden sugars.
Only in the past few centuries have we tried to adapt to a more carb-based diet which gives our bodies energy in the form of glucose, a fast burning energy.
Carbs, like sugar, are converted into glucose, which raises insulin levels as its being digested through your body.
When you eat healthy fats along with carbs and sugars (glucose), the glucose gets burned first. This leaves the healthy fats on the back burner to be stored as fat on your belly, thighs, etc.
Unfortunately, glucose is not a good source for long term energy, which causes those mid afternoon crashes that many people get after lunch.
The way to fix this is to limit the carbs that you eat and focus more on eating healthy fats like nuts, and animal fats. This will skip the burning of glucose and start the burning of fats, resulting in steady weight loss.
Good Habits to Have
Rest and Mindset
Stress is a huge contributor to weight gain. When you get stressed, your body creates more of the hunger hormones cortisol and ghrelin, causing you to feel hungry more often. This can also be known as emotional eating.
Keeping stress levels down will suppress the hunger hormone and help you keep control of your cravings. In addition, a lack of sleep can cause the reduction of the hormone leptin, which is in charge of suppressing hunger and appetite.
In other words, we had it all right in kindergarten where we had minimal stress and daily nap time at noon.
Eating Healthy Fats
The first step in the right direction when learning how to lose belly fat naturally is to actually eat healthy fats! For millions of years, our ancestors lived on nuts, animals, fruits and veggies.
Our bodies were made to burn fats as long term energy. Once your body reaches ketosis and is regularly burning fat instead of glucose (carbs and sugar), you will begin to lose belly fat more rapidly.
After starting the keto diet where I learned these principles my health and weight changed for the better.
Before my diet change, I ate a mostly carb based diet and was frequently ready for a nap after lunchtime and was usually ready to go to bed right after dinner.
When I cut out the carbs and began to eat more healthy fats, I had enough energy to last me throughout the day without getting tired. I even had energy to go for a walk with my dogs after dinner.
In addition, I was less bloated and achy, and the pounds started slipping off after about two weeks.
Hunger is often something we fear when we decide to go on a new diet or workout plan. The reason for this fear is because we are so used to feeling hungry shortly after our previous carb based meal.
When we cut out the carbs and put protein in its place, our body takes more time to break it down, resulting in feeling full longer. This major drop in hunger levels is the main reason that protein helps people lose belly fat.
In addition, protein converts to muscle in the body instead of fat, which is fantastic if you’re working out in addition to changing your diet habits.
Break a Sweat
Come on, you really thought we we’re going to skip this one? If you want to learn how to lose belly fat naturally and quickly, it’s time to break a sweat!
However, you don’t need to sign up for an expensive gym to start shedding the pounds. Take it slow and don’t overwork yourself.
Remember when I said that in order to lose 20 pounds you have to burn 70,000 calories? Well, this is the way to fast forward the process. Below I’ve listed the exercises that burn the most calories per hour.
The last thing that you should do if you want to learn how to lose belly fat naturally is stock up on your probiotics. Probiotics are live microorganisms that when eaten will keep any bad bacteria in check.
Especially if you’re a woman, probiotics are critical for vaginal health as well as gut health and weight loss. Both human and animal studies have found that normal-weight people have different gut bacteria than overweight or obese people. I’ve been using probiotics for years and they’ve helped tremendously in the past with stomach bloating and my reproductive health.
When learning how to lose belly fat naturally we find that the natural way is the best way.
You don’t need a diet pill or a crazy new diet to help you lose weight. All you need to do is take a look at your daily habits and see how you can change them for the better. I find that it’s a lot easier to change one thing at a time to allow your body to adjust to its new environment.
What natural ways have you used to lose weight? Let me know in the comments below!