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Healthy Ways to Lose Abdominal Fat Now

Belly fat is dangerous—here’s how to get rid of it fast.

Abdominal fat—also known as visceral fat—is body fat stored deep in the abdominal cavity underneath the muscle, surrounding vital organs such as the intestines, liver, and pancreas. Unlike subcutaneous fat, visceral fat cannot be touched or felt. Belly fat is linked to a number of serious health conditions including heart disease, cancer, Type 2 diabetes, and stroke, which is why it's considered far more dangerous than subcutaneous fat. Here are five healthy ways to lose belly fat, fast. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Get Moving!

morning run on the beach

Regular exercise is essential for a happy, healthy life—and it's extremely effective in getting rid of belly fat. Make sure to focus on full-body workouts rather than attempting to burn fat in just the abdominal area. "Doing crunches, sit-ups or planks will not speed the process beyond just burning calories associated with that activity," says Daniel Allan, MD. "Weight loss via physical activity for losing belly fat is most effective by combining both strength and cardio fitness programs. The good news is that when the weight does start to come off, you will likely notice it disappear in the midsection first, because visceral fat can be broken down quicker than other types of body fat."

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Sugar Causes Belly Fat


If you want to get rid of belly fat, moderate sugar consumption—sugar is highly inflammatory, and inflammation is linked to abdominal fat. "When the body experiences inflammation and stress, the preferred storage site for fat is in and around the belly," says Brenda Rea, MD, DrPH, PT, RD, a family and preventive medicine physician at Loma Linda University Health. Rea warns that sugar is not only found in obvious sources like desserts and sweetened beverages, but in a variety of unexpected places. "Foods like granola bars, ketchup, yogurt or breakfast cereals may also have hidden sugars," says Dr. Rea. "If you're not sure if something has sugar, read the labels and look for those lesser-known names of sugar."

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Don't Be Scared of Weights

woman lifting weights

Weight training—or resistance training—might be intimidating for people who have never tried it before, but it's one of the most effective ways to remove stubborn abdominal fat. "My favorite thing is to put a barbell in a woman's hands for the first time," says personal trainer and competitive weightlifter Sarah Carr. "One of the biggest benefits is the confidence of realizing you're capable of that." You don't need a gym membership to start strength training—even smaller dumbbells can be part of a great workout. "As soon as you stop doing cardio, you stop burning calories," Carr says. "When you lift weights, once you stop, your body starts to recover, and continues to burn calories for a long period of time. The more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism is going to be."

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Chill Out and Lose Fat


We don't want to stress you out—but did you know stress is making you fat? Unfortunately when we get stressed, our bodies produce cortisol, and this can lead to fat build up around the belly. What makes it even worse is the more fat there is around the abdomen, the more cortisol is produced, creating a terrible chicken-and-egg situation. "Since abdominal fat also tends to increase cortisol levels, this can lead to a vicious and unhealthy cycle, especially in women," says the American Institute of Stress. "There is little doubt that increased stress and/or cortisol can cause increased abdominal fat and weight gain." Want to learn how to deal with stress in a healthy way? Here are some scientifically proven methods of stress-relief.

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Get More Rest. No, Really.

man sleeping soundly in bed
Shutterstock / Syda Productions

Speaking of the stress-hormone cortisol, it also likes to make an appearance when you don't get enough sleep—yes, not only is your sleep-deprived state adding pounds of fat to your waistline, but the cortisol will then further disrupt sleep, creating yet another vicious cycle of cortisol and belly fat. "High cortisol is associated with obesity, as well as depression, anxiety and other stress-related mood disorders," says Dr. Michael Breus, Ph.D. "We've got more work to do to better understand the mechanisms by which cortisol affects sleep. It is already clear, however, that disordered sleep and out-of-balance cortisol frequently go hand-in-hand. Tending to sleep problems is one important way to help bring cortisol levels back into line while improving your nightly rest and lowering your risk for illness, both physical and psychological."

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The Dangers of Extra-Hard Belly Fat

If you have belly fat that is hard and extended, it's even more important that you try and reduce it fast. "A person with a very firm beer belly is at even higher risk for health problems," says Dr. Allan. "That is because it is typically caused by a high accumulation of internal organ (or visceral) fat. This is the fat that is located in the organs themselves and between the organs inside your abdomen. It is packed in tightly and, as it builds up, it will push the abdominal wall outward, exaggerating the appearance of the beer belly. The abdominal wall itself is made of muscle and tough fibrous tissues and is very firm; thus the belly will feel hard."

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Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more about Ferozan
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