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Science Says Here's How to Lose Abdominal Fat

How to lose belly fat-according to the experts

Abdominal fat—also known as visceral fat—is body fat stored deep under the muscle in the abdomen, surrounding organs such as your liver, intestines, and stomach. Abdominal fat is particularly dangerous as it's linked to a variety of health issues including diabetes and heart disease. Women with a waist measurement of over 35 inches and men who measure over 40 inches are at risk for health problems from abdominal fat—so if that's you, read on to find out how to reduce belly fat, according to the experts. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs COVID is Hurting You—Even After a Negative Test.


Manage Your Stress Levels

Profile of a beautiful woman relaxing lying on a couch at home

Research shows that stress and belly fat unfortunately go hand in hand—especially for women. "We also found that women with greater abdominal fat had more negative moods and higher levels of life stress," says Elissa S. Epel, Ph.D. "Greater exposure to life stress or psychological vulnerability to stress may explain their enhanced cortisol reactivity. In turn, their cortisol exposure may have led them to accumulate greater abdominal fat."

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Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

woman sleeping happily in plush bed

The CDC recommends that adults get at least seven hours of sleep every night—but data shows that over 35% of U.S. adults are not getting enough shuteye. "There is no doubt that insufficient sleep promotes hunger and appetite, which can cause excessive food intake resulting in weight gain," says Eve Van Cauter, director of the Sleep, Metabolism and Health Center at the University of Chicago. "Our body is not wired for sleep deprivation. The human is the only mammal that does this."

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Move It To Lose It

woman in hiit class

If you want to get rid of that unsightly belly fat, exercise is key. "Endless crunches won't do much if your abdominal muscles are buried under excess body fat," says certified personal trainer Stephanie Mansour. "Cardio is key to burning calories and losing weight. Cycling and walking are two low-impact forms of cardio that I often recommend to clients. Walking is one of the most underrated forms of exercise when it comes to burning calories and losing weight… Riding a bike or using a cycling machine is another great calorie-burning exercise. When you cycle, you use your core and lower body while also increasing your heart rate. If you have access to a spin bike, try interval training by switching up the incline and speed. If you want to go on a bike ride outside, look for a path with hills and play with your speed for some variation."

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Therapy For Weight Loss

woman consulting with female doctor

Sometimes we need a little extra help to lose weight—and that's where therapy can be helpful. "Intensive behavioral therapy can help you lose weight and keep it off," advises Johns Hopkins Medicine. "It can also help you change your eating and exercise habits. This can help you lose weight. Your healthcare provider may suggest this therapy if you are obese. He or she may also recommend it if you have trouble making lifestyle changes on your own. Behavioral therapy for obesity can help you prevent complications from diseases such as diabetes over the long term."

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Get An Accountability Buddy

older couple tracking exercise outside

Sometimes a little bit of peer pressure can be a good thing—if you have trouble sticking to your weight loss goals, consider getting an accountability buddy to keep you motivated. 

"Some people are very accountable to themselves, but not most people," says obesity expert Dr. Tim Church. "In my years of working with thousands of people, there's one thing that drives accountability more than anything else: If you want to keep people doing a behavior, get a buddy." And to live your healthiest life, don't miss this life-saving advice I'm a Doctor and Here's the #1 Sign You Have Cancer.

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