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The Best Ways To Shrink Belly Fat Fast, Physicians Say

Four habits that help reduce belly fat, according to experts. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Excess belly fat is a health concern that should be talked about more. Fat around the middle section, even for someone at a normal weight, causes serious issues like stroke, heart disease, diabetes and premature death. Too much belly fat is defined as more than 35 inches in women and 40 inches in men by health care experts, The good news is, with a few healthy lifestyle changes belly fat can be eliminated. Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with Dr. Tomi Mitchell, a Board-Certified Family Physician with Holistic Wellness Strategies, who explains to Eat This, Not That! Health what habits to change up to lose abdominal fat.  Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


How Healthy Habits Can Help Us Stay Fit

happy woman jogs along trail

Dr. Mitchell says, "Habits are things we do without putting much thought into them. It's as if our brains are programmed to respond to situations in certain ways. Some habits are good for us, others are not so. But what exactly is a habit? A habit is defined as a fixed or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up. habits can be helpful because they make life easier by saving us the energy of having to make decisions all the time. On the other hand, habits can be harmful if they're keeping us from reaching our full potential or taking care of our health. So how can we tell if our habits are helping or harming us? Well, for starters, if the habit is concerning to you, or to others you know and trust, then, it's time to take an honest look at the problem. Let us talk about belly fat. For some, it's a nuisance. For others, it's a source of great frustration and insecurity. Belly fat is one of the most difficult kinds of fat to lose, and it can be very discouraging to see your hard work not reflected in the mirror. But it's important to remember that belly fat is not just about appearance. It's also about health. Belly fat, specifically visceral fat,  is associated with a number of serious health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. So even if you're not happy with the way your belly looks, try to focus on the fact that you're doing something good for your health. And who knows? Maybe one day you'll look in the mirror and see a belly you're proud of. "


Identify Problem Habits When It Comes To Food

Obese woman laying on sofa with smartphone eating chips

Dr. Mitchell shares, "It's common knowledge that eating habits play a big role in overall health, but it can be difficult to change established patterns. A good first step is to take an honest inventory of when and how often you eat. Are you a late-night snacker? Do you eat a heavy meal right before bed? Are you cooking mainly home-cooked meals, or does your diet mainly consist of fast food or fried or smoked food? Once you have a better understanding of your eating habits, you can start to make changes that will improve your health. For example, if you find that you're eating most of your calories at night, try shifting some of your meals to earlier in the day. And if you're eating a lot of processed or fried foods, start by slowly replacing them with healthier options." 


Get Up and Move–Don't Be Seated All Day

person walking on a stone bridge

"A sedentary lifestyle is one that includes little to no physical activity," explains Dr. Mitchell. "In other words, individuals who lead sedentary lifestyles tend to spend most of their time sitting down. While there are many sedentary occupations – such as office work – that cannot be avoided, leading a sedentary lifestyle does not necessarily mean that you have a sedentary job. Rather, it refers to an overall pattern of behavior characterized by little movement.There are many potential health risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle. For instance, sedentary individuals are more likely to develop obesity, type II diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Additionally, sedentary lifestyles have been linked to higher rates of depression and anxiety. Therefore, it is important to find ways to incorporate more movement into your day. Perhaps take at least a 30-minute walk a day, sign up and regularly attend a fitness class, borrow a neighbor's dog and take them for walks–the options are endless.  Staying physically active would help you shrink that stubborn belly fat. Exercise is something we should incorporate throughout our entire life and both the young and old benefit from it."

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Cut Back on Alcohol

refuse alcohol

Dr. Mitchell states, "Alcohol is a common substance that is often consumed in social settings. While moderate alcohol consumption has been linked with some health benefits, drinking too much alcohol can have serious consequences. Heavy alcohol use can lead to dependence and addiction, and it can also increase the risk of accidents, injuries, and chronic health problems. If you're concerned that you might be drinking too much alcohol, ask yourself the following questions:

– Have you ever felt the need to cut down on your drinking?

– Have you ever gotten Annoyed by people telling you to drink less?

– Have you ever been guilty about your drinking habits?

– Have you ever had an eye-opener after a night of drinking, wondering how much you drank?

If you answer 'yes' to two or more of these questions, it might be time to get help and reduce alcohol consumption.

It's no secret that alcohol can have negative consequences on our health. From liver damage to weight gain, alcohol consumption can take a toll on our bodies. One particularly problematic area is belly fat. When we drink alcohol, our bodies convert the alcohol into sugar, which is then stored as fat. This process not only contributes to weight gain but also leads to an increase in belly fat. In addition, alcohol consumption can lead to poor eating habits and a decrease in physical activity, both of which can also contribute to increased belly fat. While there is no easy solution to reducing belly fat, making a commitment to drink less alcohol is a good place to start. By reducing our alcohol intake, we can help to reduce belly fat and improve our overall health."

RELATED: How to Lose the Fat Inside Your Belly, Says Physician


Manage Your Stress

stressed woman

According to Dr. Mitchell, "When our body experiences stress, it goes into survival mode and begins to store fat. This is because in ancient times, storing fat was a way of surviving long periods of famine. Nowadays, we don't experience famine-like our ancestors did, but our bodies still react to stress in the same way. When we're stressed, our body produces the hormone cortisol. Cortisol signals our body to start storing fat, especially in the abdominal area. This is why we often see an increase in belly fat when we're under a lot of stress. Stress can also lead to other unhealthy habits, such as overeating or skipping meals, which can further contribute to belly fat. So if you're looking to reduce belly fat, it's important to manage your stress. There's no magic pill to reduce stress, but there are plenty of things you can do to minimize its impact. To reduce stress in your life, start by looking at your habits. Are you getting enough sleep? Exercise? Eating a healthy diet? All of these things play a role in managing stress levels. In addition, try to find ways to relax and reduce tension throughout the day. Take a break from work to go for a walk or take a few deep breaths. And if you're really feeling stressed, don't hesitate to reach out for help. There's no shame in admitting that you need a little extra support. Finally, remember that stress is a normal part of life. It's not always possible to avoid it completely, but by being mindful and making healthy choices, you can develop better habits." 

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather