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I'm a Doctor and Here's How to "Melt" Abdominal Fat

Lose the stubborn fat using these science backed hacks and get ready for summer.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Ready to melt that fat off your body, especially the dangerous abdominal fat, or visceral bad, inside your belly? Tired of being sick and tired? As a doctor, having stubborn belly fat that won't go away is a big complaint I get every day from new clients. Both women and men suffer from the inability to drop the spare tire and often feel like the proverbial "busted can of biscuits" when they put on their jeans or pants. There really aren't any shortcuts to dropping the weight nor secrets to losing the spare tire. It requires you to get off the couch, eat better and get moving. These are some simple yet highly effective science backed hacks you can do that will prepare your body to shed that belly fat and get ready for your best summer ever. I'm a doctor and here's how to melt that abdominal fat away. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

1

Increase Soluble Fiber

Soluble fiber forms a gel when it is surrounded by water. In doing so, it slows down food as it goes through your digestive tract. 

Fiber makes you feel full by taking up space and triggering your satiation response (feeling of fullness) thus leading to eating less, and potentially naturally decreasing the number of calories your body takes in. 

Studies have shown that for every 10 gram intake increase of soluble fiber, led to belly fat decreasing 3.7%! 

You can increase your soluble fiber by taking in flax seeds, brussels sprouts, legumes (beans), and blackberries.

2

Cut the Alcohol

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I know this is one no one wants to hear…cut your intake of alcohol. It is true that the more you decrease alcohol the less calories you intake and your liver starts to function better decreasing inflammation in the body. This added inflammation retains water thus increases belly fat storage and weight. If you count your macros (which I suggest you do),  alcohol counts for as much as 30 grams of carbs and some fat. Your body metabolizes alcohol differently than other carbs. During this degradation and elimination of alcohol in the system, your body increases liver inflammation and sluggishness resulting in lower metabolism and increased belly fat. While some research shows a mild protective effect of alcohol; if you want to lose that spare tire, you should really think about cutting it out. Get your carbs from vegetables with high fiber as this is a double whammy for getting rid of that excess fat.

3

Eat More High Quality Protein

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Do you want to get "swole" (pumped and muscular)? You will need to add more protein to your diet. There is a common misconception today in medicine and society that we need to cut protein intake. The facts are that we need to increase protein intake along with making sure it is of a quality type. 

Increasing protein increases the release of the fullness hormones PYY, which promotes fullness and cuts your appetite down. Increasing the intake of protein in the diet also helps with building muscle mass, aids in losing belly fat (the reason you are reading this), and speeds up the metabolism. 

Typically, I have clients intake about 1 gram of protein to 1 pound of ideal body weight as a start. We track their response for weight loss or lean muscle gain and adjust up from to 1.5 grams per pound of ideal body weight. 

We divide that amount of protein intake into 4-5 meals a day and make sure you get that amount with each meal. Be sure to use grass fed, wild caught or organic protein sources like beef, fish, eggs, beans and a really good protein supplement that can take the place of a meal.

4

Eat Less Simple, Packaged Carbs

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Reducing the amount of simple, prepackaged carbohydrate based foods significantly cuts calories and increases metabolism. I tell clients "if it comes in a box, bag or can and is made by man you probably shouldn't eat it." 

Those types of pre-packaged foods are full of empty, nutrient-less calories that go right to the hips and belly. Your body has a hard time figuring out what to do with them, so it just puts it into storage. There is very little to no vitamins or minerals in these foods and during their creation they get "enriched" with poor quality, extremely low absorbed vitamins and minerals that your body can't figure out what to do with.

Avoid these at all costs as they will truly increase that waistline.

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5

Hit the Weights/Cut the Cardio

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This one tricks nearly everyone. You want to cut body fat. You need to increase your lean mass. Longevity and healthy aging is boosted with the more lean mass you have. The lower lean mass the sicker and less likely you are to survive an illness as you age.

Muscle is more active to the body than adipose tissue. However, if you are overweight, undermassed and full of inflammation (think 70+% of the US population) you are bound to not be very healthy nor able to fight off any illness that rears its head.

Strength training in the high intensity interval training (HIIT) style will greatly increase lean mass quickly along with increasing aerobic capacity. HIIT and tabata style (quick burst exercise and prescribed short rest) both work amazingly well at bolstering strength and aerobic capacity. I often recommend these types of workouts for my clients or ease my deconditioned clients into these.

Pure aerobic workouts burn lean muscle and increase risks of inability to fight off illness later in life. There are also those that do "chronic cardio" (endurance athletes) that cause damage to the heart and increase risks of cardiac death. Often those that "look" thin and healthy, think runners, are not at all healthy and have major health issues that are waiting to pop up.

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6

Sleep the Right Way

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Sleep is the most underrated and overlooked performance enhancing drug. With decreased and interrupted sleep patterns there is an increase in belly fat and decrease in overall hormonal and neurological health. 

Night shift workers, if you know one, you know that they are in the poorest of health and often have the highest rates of chronic health and disease issues. When I see a graveyard shift worker I immediately suggest they attempt to work a different shift or need to find a new job. If they can't it becomes nearly impossible to help them as their health deteriorates.

Most people need between 7-8 hours of sleep a night. I suggest you track your sleep with some wearable device to track how you are sleeping and what amount of time you are in each phase of rest. This allows for changing and increasing sleep habits to allow for recovery. Research and life shows that those that sleep less than 6 hours or less a night have increased body and belly fat.

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7

Drink Green Tea

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Green tea is one of my favorite rituals. It contains some caffeine and the potent antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). These both appear in research, and clinical experience, to boost your metabolism. 

The EGCG is often found in weight loss supplements or by itself as a promotion to lose weight. Research shows that combining green tea with exercise increases the amount of belly fat a person will experience. I prefer for my clients to drink green tea versus pounding pills full of  EGCG and other stimulant based products which are not good for the heart. 

I'm a doctor and those simple steps are the best ways to melt your abdominal fat. Get up, get moving, and feed your body what it needs to fuel your best life ever. The old statement of "you are what you eat" is true today as it was when it was first stated. I tell my clients "junk in, junk out," if you fuel your body like it's a junker then it will run like a junker. If you fuel it and run it like a fine tuned high end sports car then it will perform like that sports car. 

Dr. Jerry Bailey
Dr. Jerry Bailey, BAA, DC, CAc, FIAMA, MS in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine, is a certified nutritionist, acupuncturist, chiropractic, and functional medicine physician at Lakeside Holistic Health with over two decades in his field. Read more