Wednesday, July 17, 2024

How Long Will It Take Me to Lose Excess Belly Fat?

Did you know? Fat has a bad reputation but it isn’t all bad. Good fats are essential for our bodies to thrive.

Did you know? Too much belly fat is called visceral fat (bad fat) which can cause health problems if not managed.

Did you know? The timeline for losing belly fat is directly proportionate to your overall weight loss.

Did you know? People who want to lose weight often want to do so around their abdominal area first but it’s not easy to target fat loss.

Slimming down and being done with that jiggly belly, every last bit of it, is something most of us want to master. If you’re wondering how to win this battle of getting rid of unwanted fat and how long it will take, there are answers.

Unfortunately, the answer is not as simple and clear-cut.

Nutrition and exercise go hand in hand when it comes to burning off your fat. Pairing a calorie deficit diet along with regular physical activity will reduce your overall body fat percentage including your belly region.

How long does it take for people to lose belly fat?

That answer is different for everybody.

Truth be told — There’s no shortcut to lose belly fat. Crash diets and weight loss supplements and teas, detoxes and programmes won’t do the trick. It is almost impossible to target belly fat alone. Reducing your total body fat percentage will shrink your waistline as well and even improve your health.

How long it takes to achieve fat loss varies from person to person.

A reduced-calorie diet will help you lose around 1 kilogram of fat a week. Incorporating exercise into your routine will help speed up your metabolism and tone your belly area.

Your best bet is losing overall body fat and once you start losing weight, your belly will get slimmer. In my case belly fat is always the last to leave my body.

Losing belly fat is dependant on 2 things-

  1. A caloric deficit diet full of protein
  2. Exercise that includes weight training

 How long does it take to burn fat? Let’s do the math —

You have to burn approximately 3,500 calories to lose one pound of fat.

So to lose one pound a week, you have to eliminate 500 calories from your diet every day.

That’s the caloric deficit required per day.

If you manage to achieve this feat you could lose four pounds in a month and it could take one to two months before you notice your waistline slimming.

Increasing your physical activity and exercise will also help you burn more calories and build muscle mass. But keep in mind that muscle is heavier than fat. So while you may be looking and feeling leaner and toned it may not show on the weighing scale.

Everyone is different. There are many variables that affect what it takes to burn a calorie. The larger you are, the more calories you can burn, males have more muscle than females which helps them burn more calories and the amount of physical exercise you do determines the number of calories you burn.

Cutting inches off your waistline requires a lot of hard work, following the right balance of diet and exercise and most importantly patience.

How to create a caloric deficiency?

Calories are units of energy from food. It’s quite simple, the more energy you use, the more calories you burn. Unused calories get stored as fat. You can burn stored or extra fat by consuming fewer calories and burning more energy.

Here are some ways to cut calories —

  • Switch drinks- drink water instead of sweetened sodas and juices
  • Reduce your alcohol intake. Alcohol= calories
  • Opt for black coffee instead of flavoured coffee with added cream and sugar
  • Avoid high-calorie foods like refined carbs, sugar and fried food
  • Avoid fast food and ultra-processed food
  • Eat fresh food instead of prepackaged food
  • Check the number of calories in foods. You can use a calorie counting app or food journal for this.
  • Reduce your portions sizes- Try using a smaller plate or bow to trick your brain
  • Avoid using refined oil while cooking
  • Use tiny amounts of oil while cooking
  • Eat slowly and wait for 20 minutes after eating to make sure you’re full before taking another helping.
  • Don’t eat in front of the TV. It’s easy to get distracted and eat more than you need to.
  • Include a lot of protein in your meal.

Foods to eat to help lose belly fat —

Coming to the food options, there is no magical food or elixir out there that will bust your belly fat. But there are smarter food choices you can make.

  • Eat fresh food instead of prepackaged food
  • Drink wter instead of sugary drinks
  • Black coffee or green tea instead of milky, sugary counterparts
  • Nuts and dryfruit instead of junk food snacks options
  • Reduce your alcohol intake and make wise choices of low sugar alcohol
  • Replace simple carbohydrates with complex carbohydrates

Exercises to help you burn belly fat and burn calories —

Exercises that target the abdomen may not affect your visceral fat, but they can help strengthen and tone your muscles. The most important thing is to keep moving.

  • 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise
  • Aerobic exercises
  • Strength and weight training to build your muscle mass
  • Stretching to keep your body supple
  • Yoga or pilates
  • Walking or jogging
  • You can use free weights, weight machines, or resistance bands to make your workout slightly difficult

 A few additional tips to keep you active-

  • Park farther away from your destination and walk to rack up those extra steps
  • Use the stairs instead of elevators and escalators
  • Walk for 10 to 15 minutes after your meal
  • The more you move, the more calories you burn

Takeaway —

Weigh yourself once a week at the same time of day to track overall weight loss. There’s never a one-size-fits-all approach that works. Focus on making healthy and smart choices that keep your body fit and automatically your body goals will be achieved. Be patient and consistent, stay the course and make sure you choose the sustainable route so you can keep up and maintain your progress.

Vinita Alvares Fernandes
Vinita Alvares Fernandes is an Economics graduate, a writer and a Trinity College certified public speaker and communicator

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