How to lose belly fat (Simple, Proven and backed by Science)

The fat gut, beer belly, spare tire, the middle-aged spread. Whatever you call it, you need to get rid of it, ASAP because your belly fat is killing you.

Inside your stomach is this insidious fat slowly releasing toxic chemicals into your organs. 

Over time, these toxic chemicals will harm your organs, reducing your quality of life.

Obesity can lead to heart diseases and cancers—two of the world’s leading causes of death.

[source: The Medical Risks of Obesity]

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 647,547 deaths from heart disease and 599,108 deaths from cancer in the U.S. alone in 2017.

[source: Leading Causes of Death]

Here’s a graph in 2017 from Our World in Data, showing how much obesity has the most impact on death.

cause of death graph in 2017
Numbers of death causes graph 2017

It’s irrefutable that obesity kills. Your belly fat is a good indicator of your current health. The bigger your gut, the higher your risk of deadly diseases.

Melting off your belly fat will help you live a long and happy life. Easier said than done, right? I know how hard it is to lose belly fat because…

I myself had a problem getting rid of my pot-belly, but I persevered, learned, took action, and finally, I see my abs. You can do it too!

The formula for losing weight is simple but it’s not easy. However, nothing in life worth having is ever easy.

Take your life back and get rid of that belly fat for good! Here’s how to lose belly fat.

Best ways to lose weight no matter who you are

If you are one of those people that are built to burn fat all day long and put on muscle just by touching a dumbbell (Mesomorph), you probably won’t have a hard time losing your big gut.

[source: What is a mesomorph?]

Now, if you are not a Meso, like me, this does not mean you are doomed to look, how shall I put it, less appealing.

No matter what your genes tell you, you can have your six-pack abs. So, how do you lose belly fat if you are not a Mesomorph type?

You have to work! And I mean you put in the hours for cardio and resistance training. Eat clean, track everything, and be motivated.

Those are the best ways to lose weight and gradually get rid of your belly fat.

The belly fat consists of two fat. One is bad, the other is really bad.

Visceral fat

Before we move on to losing belly fat, let’s talk about the devil in your body, visceral fat.

Visceral fat is the fat that you can’t pinch.

Visceral fat is deep inside your stomach.

Visceral fat attaches itself to your organs such as the liver, stomach, and intestines.

This type of fat is the dangerous one. It can cause many illnesses if left unchecked.

The following is what visceral fat can

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • heart attack and heart disease
  • colorectal cancer
  • stroke
  • type 2 diabetes
  • breast cancer

Visceral fat is very harmful. Luckily, getting rid of visceral fat is the same as losing your belly fat.

Ways to lose belly fat

The following are ways to lose belly fat:

  1. Eat a lot and lose fat
  2. Diet to lose belly fat
  3. Avoid these foods to lose belly fat
  4. Avoid the worst drinks for your body
  5. Gain muscle to lose belly fat
  6. Cardio to lose belly fat
  7. Determine the optimal fat burning zone (old and new way)
  8. Count calories

1. Eat a lot and lose fat

It sounds counter-intuitive when dieting is about controlling what you eat, but let me explain.

Research suggests that eating three meals with two snacks a day is related to lowering body mass index and maintenance of weight loss.

The study found that normal-weight and weight maintainers had a better chance of controlling their weight by eating snacks in between meals.

Have you ever been hungry that you could eat a horse? Probably not a horse but a whole horse’s leg. Eating snacks can stave off hunger and decrease the chance of overeating.

Overweight people tend to overeat in a single meal. And the process keeps repeating until obesity hits them in the gut.

[source: Eating frequency is higher in weight loss maintainers and normal weight individuals as compared to overweight individuals]

2. Belly fat burning food

Start eating protein-rich food, green leafy vegetables, and fruits. That’s nothing new, but it is the natural way to lose weight and melt belly fat.

The following are my favorite types of protein, super vegetables, and fruits rich in antioxidants. These are the best food that burn belly fat.

Proteins

  • Fish
  • Chicken
  • Pork

Anything really, as long as they are lean cuts. Limit your intake of fats if possible. If you have to eat the fat, make sure you don’t overindulge and go over your daily calorie limit. The amount of saturated fat in specific meat cuts can negatively impact your health.

Research suggests that after a high protein meal resulted in more significant fat loss, weight loss, and preservation of lean muscle mass.

[source: The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance]

Super Vegetables

  • Watercress
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Chard
  • Beet green
  • Spinach
  • Chicory
  • Leaf lettuce
  • Parsley

[source: Defining Powerhouse Fruits and Vegetables: A Nutrient Density Approach]

Fruits high in antioxidants

  • Strawberry
  • Orange
  • Grapefruit
  • Apple
  • Apricot
  • Oranges
  • Papaya
  • Pomegranate

[source: The total antioxidant content of more than 3100 foods, beverages, spices, herbs and supplements used worldwide]

The following are foods to help lose belly fat and should be included in your shopping list:

  1. Avocado
  2. Coffee
  3. Green tea
  4. Black tea
  5. Eggs
  6. Matcha tea
  7. Salmon
  8. Nuts
  9. Yogurt
  10. Green leafy vegetables
  11. Red hot chili peppers

To know more about these fat-burning superfoods click on the links below.

Related articles

3. Avoid these foods to lose belly fat

Food that you should not consume to reduce your stomach:

  • Sugar
  • White rice
  • Pasta
  • Cereal
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Frozen pizza 
  • Muesli bar
  • Bread
  • Cake
  • Pastry
  • Donut

You might be surprised at some of the items on the list. Let’s go over them.

Cereals have been deemed healthy for a long while now: marketers made sure of that. Look at the nutritional information, mainly how much sugar it contains.

Have a look at the supposedly healthy Special K: for every 100 grams of serving; it contains 12 grams of sugar. If you are female and you eat 200 grams of serving, your daily sugar intake is already at maximum.

Like cereals, low-fat yogurt, muesli bars, and pizza contain a significant amount of sugar.

Sugar is your enemy if you want to get lean and healthy; it will make you pack on weight in a short amount of time. It offers no beneficial nutrients but carries a lot of calories.

“…the potential for overconsumption of sugars in form of sugary foods and drinks is substantial…”

[source: Controversies about sugars: results from systematic reviews and meta-analyses on obesity, cardiometabolic disease and diabetes]

4. Avoid the worst drinks for your body

I know people who try to lose weight by eating less but drinks a whole 500 ml of Coke. 

My brother does this with a special large cup he bought to fit 750 ml worth of soda; regular cups just don’t cut it.

If you are like my brother, STOP! you are literally poisoning your body.

According to the American Heart Association, the recommended sugar daily intake for a healthy adult male is 36 grams or 9 teaspoons. For a healthy adult female, it is 25 grams or 6 teaspoons. 

The amount of sugar contained in 330 ml of Coca Cola is 35 grams. That is your recommended daily sugar intake if you are an adult male. For an adult female, it is 1.5 times the average.

Do your body a favor and stop drinking these sweetened drinks:

  • Coffee with creams from Starbucks, Gloria Jeans, etc
  • Tea with creams
  • Mocha
  • Chocolate drinks
  • Shakes
  • Sodas
  • Smoothies
  • Energy drinks
  • Some fruit juices

Not only do these sugar drinks contain a significant amount of calories, but they can also increase your resistance to insulin, increasing your risk of diabetes.

“This study supports the importance of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption in the diabetes epidemic.”

[source: Diet Soda and Sugar-Sweetened Soda Consumption in Relation to Incident Diabetes in the Northern Manhattan Study]

In addition to sugary drinks, you should also avoid consuming alcohol if you are trying to lose your pot-belly. They are OK in moderation, but more than the average can cause a whole slew of diseases according to NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information).

However, drinking one or two whiskeys on ice won’t affect you much. Once you start mixing alcohol with sugar, that is when your calories skyrocket.

The most sugar-laden mixed drinks to avoid at all cost are bourbon and Coke, vodka and juice, Redbull and vodka.

5. Gain muscle to lose belly fat

You can build muscle by lifting weights. Strength exercises will burn fat for 24 to 48 hours after your workout.

The International Journal of Exercise Science 2018 study found the participants increased their Basal Metabolic Rate after a bout of resistance exercises.

A basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the number of calories you burn doing nothing.

Also, the more muscles you have, the more efficient your body becomes in burning off fat. In general, people with more muscle mass than fat have a high BMR.

In contrast, people with more fat than muscle mass have low resting metabolism.

6. Cardio to lose belly fat

I know, cardio is tedious and something most people prefer to skip.

But, if you want to maximize fat loss and finally see your abs in the quickest time possible, include cardio into your regimen.

It doesn’t have to be an intense exercise, but enough to raise your heart rate to the optimum fat burning rate.

Related articles:

7. Determine the optimal fat burning zone (old and new way)

To determine your optimum heart rate to ensure fat burning, all you have to do is subtract your age from 220. What you get is your maximum heart rate. 

To get the optimum fat burning heart rate, you need to take 70% from your maximum heart rate.

For example, I am 40 years old. I need to take away 40 from 220, giving me a 180 maximum heart rate. 70% of 180 gives me my fat burning heart rate zone, which is 126.

0.7(220 – 40) = 126 BPM 

After many years of using the old ways to measure the optimal fat-burning zone, NCBI has found that as we grow older, our heart rate slows down.

Thus they have introduced a new way to measure the optimal zone. The new, safer formula to calculate your MHR is 207 – (0.7 x age).

To determine the best heart rate for the fat-burning zone, NCBI has found between 61% to 80% of your MHR is an excellent base for optimal fat loss.

You can use our calculators by clicking on the links below to determine your maximum heart rate and your ideal fat burning zone heart rate:

8. Count calories

Counting calories can be tiresome and plain boring. However, if you want to be spot on with your diet, you need to learn how to do this crucial but dull part of losing weight.

When you count calories, you know exactly how much you are putting into your body. Counting calories lets you know if you are eating too much or too little for the day.

There are many calorie counting apps available, both free and paid. I have been using My Fitness Pal for years, and it’s helped me keep a tab on what I eat. I’m still on the free version. If you only want to count calories, then the free version of My Fitness Pal does an excellent job.

There is also the question of calorie quality. Don’t think that you can eat whatever you want as long as you are in a calorie deficit for the day. If you are not giving your body the nutrients it deserves, you’ll likely develop health problems.

Moreover, studies have shown that increasing fruit and vegetable intake reduces the risk of certain cancers. Therefore, the quality of the calories you put into your body determines your health.

[source: Calories]

How to lose belly fat naturally

Everything that we’ve covered so far, are all-natural ways to lose your stomach fat. Exercising, eating the right food are natural ways to lose belly fat.

Don’t even think of getting liposuction or bariatric surgery if you haven’t REALLY taken action by following the above methods.

It can be done. Look, my body is not the best type. I gain fat quickly and it’s hard for me to build muscle mass, but I still lost the dreaded fat belly.

If a 40-year-old man with a gene of a sloth can stop making excuses and just do it, why can’t you? The following are methods on how to lose belly fat naturally.

Exercises to lose belly fat walking

I know how hard it is to get started after being sedentary for too long. But, nothing will change if you don’t try.

Once you finally start and after many repetitions, it will become a habit. Once it gets ingrained into your daily routine, you’ll soon feel guilty when you miss just one workout session.

For beginners, I recommend walking for your cardio. You can walk anywhere and it’s a less strenuous form of exercise. I consider walking the best way to lose belly fat.

Put on a good pair of shoes and get out of the house. If you are like my partner who loves to spend, go shopping.

I don’t know how but when I go to the shops with my partner, she can walk around the mall for the entire day without a single complaint. But she whines and complains after 10 minutes of walking to the train station.

After a day or two or a week of walking, you should walk briskly, if you aren’t already doing so. Walk to get your heart rate up and try to sustain it for 30 minutes.

Walking is my favorite form of cardio. Friendly on the joints and sustainable in the long term. I can most definitely walk every day.

Need more tips on how to lose belly fat by walking? Follow the link below:

Run for your life (this might save you)

The stomach fat is the most dangerous compared to your arms, thighs, or any other part of your body.

What lies underneath is visceral fat, a type of fat that leaks no-good substances to your internal organs, leading to many diseases.

Getting rid of visceral fat is the same as losing stomach fat. Follow a healthy lifestyle and sweat it out.

Any exercise can help reduce belly fat. In saying that, research shows that high-intensity exercise training does a better job than a low-intensity workout in reducing visceral fat (the bad fat).

[source: Effect of exercise training intensity on abdominal visceral fat and body composition]

So, if you want a faster result, run like your life depends on it.

Running will also double your progress compared to walking. You will lose more calories in 30 minutes when you run.

There is no doubt about it if you want to lose your stomach fat as fast as possible, amp up your cardio. The more calories you lose, the more fat you are burning.

Start slowly to warm up your legs, then increase your pace. If you can sustain the speed for the whole 30 minutes of running, then that is great.

I don’t run anymore. Years of playing basketball have worn my meniscus so badly that I get pain in my left knee after a hard run.

To hit the ground running, click on the following link:
How to lose belly fat by running

Play sports

If walking and running are boring for you, why don’t you play your favorite sport? Mine was basketball, as mentioned, and I played for years until I tore my left meniscus.

Basketball was fun, and the best way to lose stomach fat for me. And as soon as I stopped, my weight gradually crept up. My problem was, I never exercised and stayed sedentary. I should have kept active or played a different sport.

If you have problems like a worn meniscus that prevents you from playing your favorite sport, you can try swimming and cycling.

Swimming has less impact on your joints compared to running. Cycling doesn’t jolt your knee joints compared to running.

These are all-natural ways to lose stomach fat. Depending on your body and fitness level, following these simple and basic methods will have you seeing chiseled abs in a week.

Weight training

Another great exercise to lose belly fat is weight training. Resistance training is great for building muscle which helps you burn more calories doing nothing.

In a 2018 study, the BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) of a group of women increased due to weightlifting for 48 hours. BMR is how many calories your body burns when sedentary.

The more muscle you have, the more fat you will burn. Therefore, strength training is a great long-term strategy to keep burning belly fat.

I started weight training in high school and always joined gyms to lift weights. However, I found that my goal does not require an expensive gym membership.

If your plan is to build muscle, look lean, keep healthy and not necessarily look like Arnie, then buying dumbbells is sufficient.

Lose belly fat without losing weight

Losing belly fat is hard. Losing belly fat without losing weight is very tricky and almost impossible.

I know that’s not what you wanted to hear, but it is tough.

However, some people can lose fat quickly and put on muscle easily.

If you are one of those people, I am freaking jealous right now.

I, on the other hand, is the opposite. I’m an endomorph. 

Building muscle is hard, and I gain fat quickly. 

There isn’t much you can do if you are like me but work harder than the rest.

When I say work harder, it does not mean more hours at the gym, heavier weights, or higher reps. No, I mean more mental strength to keep working out and eating healthily for the rest of your life. 

Some people gain fat in the right places (butt), and some people gain fat in the wrong places (belly). Again, genes play a significant role. That’s why you see hot chics and guys with phat butts and fantastic figures.

Even if you possess a mesomorph body type, you still have to have a good nutrition plan.

You can’t merely eat deep-fried fish and chips, Big Macs every dinner, and beers for tea.

Let’s say that losing belly fat without sacrificing weight is almost impossible.

If you are willing to put in the work, then here’s what you can do.

If you watch sports, the athletes that play them look fit, right?

They eat like a horse, yet they don’t have big belly fat.

Now, why is that?

The big reason is that they sweat out more calories than they eat. The number of calories they burn during training and in games is a staggering amount. 

Factor in the resistance training to build their muscles makes for the best method to lose belly fat.

Lose belly fat without a diet

If dieting is not your forte, here is what you can do to lose the spare tire. You can melt the extra calories by exercising.

I myself hate dieting. However, when you have to lose the belly fat after 3 seasons of bulking up, it’s essential.

You see, whenever I bulk up, I tend to put on weight in my stomach. Moreover, my genes won’t let me build muscle efficiently.

Luckily, through research, years of experimentation, I found supplements that help me build muscle and lose belly fat.

What keeps my stomach from growing further is the extra cardio I do after resistance training. And that is the trick, to lose belly fat without diet, you need to do cardio.

Look, you can eat as much as you want, provided you sweat it out later. What I mean is that you have to exercise enough to be in a calorie deficit at the end of the day. Otherwise, you will not lose weight.

My sister lost weight without dieting by doing the above method. All the while, looking after two kids, working a full-time sedentary job, and have the biggest sweet tooth.

Find out what my sister did to be successful in this in-depth article about losing belly fat without dieting, which you can go to by clicking on the following link:
How to lose belly fat without dieting in 3 simple steps

Best diet for belly fat loss

The keto diet works like magic. You can eat all the fat you want and lose weight. I know, I tried it.

Essentially, the keto diet involves a lot of fat, a good amount of protein, and a low amount to zero carbs.

When you eat only fats and proteins, your body switches from glucose (carbs) to fats for energy. This is called ketosis.

When I heard of the ketogenic diet, I thought it was another diet that is full of promises but does not deliver. Luckily, I tried it anyway.

Best decision of my life.

After 3 months of the keto diet, I lost 33 pounds and most of it belly fat.

Some of the things that can happen to you while on the keto diet:

  • Lose your belly fat
  • Lose your sweet tooth
  • More energy
  • Always feeling full
  • Might even help with cancer

I don’t know about the last one but there are studies that the keto diet may help with certain types of cancers.

If you’re after studies about the keto diet and belly fat, look at this research on the keto diet and weight loss.

You’ll find that there are some data that point to weight loss, the usual loss of belly fat when patients are on the keto diet.

Try the keto diet to lose your belly fat. Go on it for 3 months and see what happens.

If you can’t do 3 months, then do a month. The first week is the hardest.

But once your body adjusts, you’ll thrive eating only fats and carbs.

Food that burn fat belly

Believe it or not, there is food that helps you lose weight. Here are some of the best belly fat burner foods:

  • Olive oil – is by far the best cooking oil to use for its weight loss properties. A study showed that 41 obese women lost weight from ingesting olive oil.
  • Green tea – is a cancer-fighting food that helps you lose the fat belly too.
  • Avocado – studies show that there are connections to maintaining weight.
  • Dark chocolate – at least 70%. The higher percentage of cocoa, the more you’ll get polyphenols and flavonoids which has shown to help fight the fat.
  • Coffee – shows that it helps fat oxidation and increase thermogenesis.
  • Yogurt – can also aid with weight loss while giving your gut some love.
  • Lean meat – contains plenty of protein to help build muscles. With more muscles, you can burn more calories, even when sitting down.
  • Eggs – eating eggs can make you feel fuller for longer. Studies also show that eggs help with weight loss and do not affect cholesterol in certain individuals.
  • Oats – are great for reducing cholesterol and visceral fat.

What they don’t tell you about getting rid of lower stomach fat

how to lose belly fat
Lose your belly before it’s too late

Here’s the mind-blowing fact that you should get your mind around. You can’t target the lower or the top of your stomach.

Yes, you can strengthen the lower abdomen, but when it comes to getting rid of the subcutaneous fat (the fat you can pinch), it will take more than 1,000,000 leg raises. And no, 1,000,001 won’t be enough either.

The only way to get rid of your stomach fat is to bite the bullet and do some cardio, and you can’t do cardio using your lower stomach. Can you? I guess you can, but you know what I mean.

To further explain, you already have abs. The fat covers those abs; hence, you can’t see any lines. Once you get rid of those fat, the more visible your abs become.

How to lose belly fat in 2 weeks

Losing the stomach fat or the belly fat in 2 weeks depends on you. You can do all the exercises for belly fat in the world, and go on the best diet for belly fat loss, but without developing a habit, your belly fat will return after 2 weeks.

In terms of how to lose belly fat in 2 weeks, you can try the keto diet, and do these 22 exercises to lose belly fat in 1 week. The keto diet is known for its fast weight loss benefits.

Another caveat is that you have a lot to lose and 2 weeks is not enough to lose all your belly fat. You will lose fat but your belly is still noticeable.

Losing belly fat in such a short time is hard when there is much to lose. It is also dangerous.

The safest way to lose belly fat is by taking your time, developing good habits, and choosing a diet you can stick to for the long term.

Frequently asked questions

  • What is the best exercise to lose stomach fat?

    When you ask someone, “what is the best exercise to lose stomach fat,” and they tell you to do more crunches and perform 100 variations of crunches, it’s fair to say. They don’t know what they are talking about. The best exercise to lose stomach fat involves raising your heart rate to your optimum fat burning zone. This is how to lose belly fat naturally.

  • How do you get a flat stomach overnight?

    This question makes me laugh all the time. It’s like wishing to win the lotto. The surest way to achieve something is through hard work, determination, and pure will. It is the same with losing your fat gut. You don’t exercise, fall asleep, and the next day you lose your fat belly. No, losing fat takes time. And you need to do lots of cardio, eat clean, and persevere.

  • Can you lose stomach fat without exercise?

    Yes, you can. I did a ketogenic diet for 3 months and lost body fat doing absolutely nothing. It doesn’t have to be a ketogenic diet. When you eat clean and less than what you take out, you are losing weight and body fat in the process. How you burn fat at rest (BMR), and types of food that ramp up your thermogenesis determines your ability to lose stomach fat without exercise.

  • What foods help burn belly fat?

    The following food helps trigger your thermogenesis and increase BMR. They can be found anywhere in the world. Eat or drink these foods, and you’ll probably never have to exercise to lose your fat belly. “Probably.”
    Foods that help you lose belly fat:
    Coffee – Limit your drink to 1 to 4 cups or 100 to 400 ml a day. This way, you’ll get the benefits without the side effects. This study from NCBI proves that coffee causes thermogenesis.
    Fish – I love fatty fish, and I try to get at least 1 serving once a week. Fish provides Omega 3, which may reduce fat
    Olive oil – Preferably, extra virgin olive oil is the best oil you can ever eat. It contains loads of monounsaturated fat to bolster heart health. The study from NCBI also supports claims it boosts the metabolic rate.
    Chili – This study from NCBI found that chili helps increase metabolic rate and burns 50 calories per day.

More on how to lose belly fat


“I have the metabolism of a sloth and a body that hates putting on muscles. This curse motivated me to study weight loss and nutrition. I want to share my experiences and knowledge to help you achieve your ideal body.”

— Christian Tanobey

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