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Fast Ways to Lose Belly Fat, According to Science

Melt your belly fat without ever feeling hungry.
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There's a reason that slow and steady weight loss has been the preferred approach of so many health professionals: The traditional belief has been that to lose weight and keep it off you need to make gradual lifestyle changes. By slowly getting used to a new way of eating and living, you won't shock your body too drastically, and over time, those changes will become permanent.

While making sure to integrate lifestyle changes into your weight loss journey is important, you should also listen to the science that shows dropping pounds shouldn't be a marathon, but rather a 100-yard dash.

When researchers conducted a comprehensive review of weight-loss studies, they discovered that people who lost weight the fastest were the most likely to keep it off in the long run. "Regardless of whether you pick a sensible diet, exercise, behavioral therapy, or a drug, our analysis of the literature shows that it's those who experience the greatest weight loss in the first two to four weeks who have the greatest weight loss the following year," wrote Arne Astrup, a researcher at Copenhagen University's Department of Nutrition, Exercise, and Sports, who helped put together the analysis. "So if you've lost a lot of weight after one month, you're more likely to have lost a lot of weight after a year or two."

In one example, Astrup and his team reviewed a study of two sets of obese people who underwent very different diet programs: One led to rapid weight loss (dropping one kilo, or over two pounds, per day), while the other produced slow and steady results. It turned out that those who lost weight slowly fared no better in the long run than those who lost weight quickly. In fact, the slow loss group was more likely to lose motivation sooner, according to the results published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Think about that: Your best chance of losing your belly and keeping it off for good is to lose more than two pounds a day! Even if your weight loss happens to slow down a bit after the initial weeks of following a new eating and lifestyle program (this is typical as you become leaner and fitter), you could expect to drop 30, 35, 40 pounds, or even more in a month!

So you need to drop belly fat—fast—if you want to keep it off for good. And we rounded up the evidence-backed tips that can help you do that so you can have a long, happy, healthier life.

Read on, and for more on healthy eating, don't miss Simple Ways to Start Losing Weight Immediately, According to Science.

1

Be ambitious!

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Several studies have shown that more ambitious goals are often associated with better weight-loss outcomes. In fact, Astrup found that when weight-loss experts intervene and encourage dieters to set more realistic weight-loss goals they don't actually shed the weight they want and keep it off any longer than dieters who target bigger and faster belly fat loss. In other words, there are downsides to being conservative—heavy ones.

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2

Lose weight rapidly, stay slim for life.

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You're more than five times as likely to succeed in your long-term weight-loss goals if you start dropping pounds rapidly right out of the gate, according to a study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine. The same results have been repeated over and over. A 2014 study in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology looked at 200 people on diet plans and found that "achieving a weight loss target of 12.5% [of body weight] is more likely, and dropout is lower if losing weight is done quickly." And a similar study in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior found that subjects who were more successful in the initial weeks of a weight-loss program were far more likely to stay motivated, and go on to lose at least 5% of their body weight, than those who started more slowly.

3

Don't wait; start right now!

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Don't wait; start right now! You can't lose weight by planning to lose weight. That's called procrastination. Don't delay. Start today by vowing to eliminate all sweetened beverages from your diet. That one move alone could erase 300 or more calories from your daily diet. And that's just a start!

4

Do our quick, efficient workouts and get on with your life.

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Do a quick, efficient workout and get on with your life. Scientific research has shown that very brief exercise sessions—called High-Intensity Interval Training—can be incredibly beneficial to your health, improving cardiovascular function and insulin resistance, and maintaining weight loss. 80 percent of weight loss comes from eating right, but exercise can provide crucial motivation and a boost to your metabolism and heart health.

5

It doesn't matter if you're 'in shape.' Just get moving!

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Maybe you weren't very good at sports as a kid. So what? The exercises in this book aren't crazy-hard. Maybe you haven't exercised in years. That's okay, too. You can be in terrible shape and still lose that belly. Two meta-analyses found that even when schools offered students specialized gym classes designed to help them cope with obesity, the students' fitness at the beginning of the program made no difference in their long-term weight-loss success. Prepping yourself to "get fit" doesn't matter at all; what matters is that you're ready to start losing weight right now. The fitness will come naturally.

6

Rapid weight loss means sticking to a serious meal plan that works.

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A 2015 study published in PLOS ONE found that while most doctors subscribe to the notion of "all things in moderation," that longstanding general advice is actually wrong. When researchers looked at the diets of 6,814 people, they found that the more diverse a person's diet, the more likely he or she was to experience weight gain. In fact, the test subjects who ate the widest range of foods showed a 120% greater increase in waist circumference compared with those who had the least diversity. In other words, people who have the best success at belly fat loss don't follow the "everything in moderation" advice, but choose specific healthy foods to focus on and tend to stick to them. Here's a simple way to start: Here's Your Fat-Blasting 2021 Meal Plan.