Nobody likes having belly fat.
And the truth is that having a beer belly can be dangerous to your overall health. Visceral fat, the type of fat that makes up a beer belly, is responsible for such serious and sometimes life threatening health risks like heart disease, diabetes, sleep apnea and even some cancers.
Besides being a health risk, having a beer belly can be a damper on your own confidence and pride in how you look.
Ask a friend how to get rid of a beer belly and they’ll give you some simple advice like “go on a diet”, “go to the gym”, “exercise more”, or “stop drinking beer”.
The real answer isn’t as simple as any one of these actions. There are a few steps you need to take to ensure that you get rid of your beer belly and that it doesn’t come back.
Since you can’t just target any specific part of your body for a reduction, you’re simply going to have to lose weight in order to get rid of your beer belly. The good news is that belly fat is usually the first to go when you’re experiencing fat loss.
On this page, I’m going to outline these steps so that you have a plan of action that you can take. Follow these steps and you should be on your way to a leaner, healthier body, one that you can be proud to show off.
1. Make Changes to Your Diet
Nothing is more important in your efforts to lose weight than how you eat.
You can exercise every day but if you’re eating the wrong types of food, you would not see any progress.
If you were to ask 10 diet experts how to lose weight, you would get 10 different answers but one thing that they can’t argue with is the facts. You need to burn more calories that you consume in order to lose weight.
To do this you’ll need to create a calorie deficit over a period of time. Creating a calorie deficit of 3500 calories burns 1 pound of fat. Experts suggest that you drop 1-2 lbs of fat per week but it is possible for your body to safely burn fat at a faster rate.
The starting point for this is in your diet.
You’ll need to:
Reduce carbs – Low carb diets work well because they lower the insulin in your blood, which is needed to turn glucose into the energy we need. When the body can’t get glucose from the carbohydrates in your food, it will begin to burn stored fat to provide this energy.
To reduce carbs, cut back/avoid these foods as much as possible:
- Sugary drinks (soda, etc)
- Fruit juices
- Starchy foods (potatoes, rice, pasta etc)
You can’t completely avoid carbs though as nearly all foods have some carbohydrate content. Eating natural carbs that have fiber, such as fruits and vegetables, allow your body to absorb the carbs into your systems very slowly avoiding spikes in your blood sugar levels. It’s the refined carbs you have to watch out for.
Get more protein – With a reduction in carbohydrate intake, you need to load up on protein rich foods to provide the right environment for fat burning.
Proteins take longer to digest than carbohydrates and fat which means you’ll feel full a lot longer and have more time between meals. As a result, you’ll end up consuming less calories.
Proteins are responsible for repairing damaged cells and aid in growth and development throughout the body. To prevent the body from burning off both fat and muscle as you lose weight, you need protein to preserve and repair lean muscle tissue, especially when you add exercise to your weight loss routine.
Animal proteins are the better source of proteins when compared to vegetable based proteins. They are considered complete because they have all the amino acids that the body needs.
Here are some protein rich foods you can add to your diet:
- Skinless poultry
- Lean beef or pork
- Low fat dairy products
- Soy proteins
- Legumes and beans
Eat good fats – Not all fats are bad for you and this one might come as a surprise to you, but you need to eat fats in order to get rid of the fat that’s inside you.
Saturated fats, which can be found in stuff like bacon, sausages, butter, cakes and ice-cream, are the bad fats which should be consumed less. Studies show that these fats can raise your cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease. They also contribute to the storage of visceral fat, the bad boy that’s packed into your beer belly.
The good fats you need in your diet are polyunsaturated fats, which contain essential fatty acids (EFAs), fats that the body needs for various functions. EFAs help reduce inflammation in the body and aids in the production of lean muscle mass.
Good fats are present in foods like:
- Oily fish (salmon, mackeral, herring, trout)
- Vegetable oil (sunflower, soybean, olive)
- Sunflower seeds
Drink more water – Drinking enough water every day regardless of whether or not you’re trying to get rid of some pounds can increase your metabolism.
Water can help flush harmful toxins from your body and generally make you feel healthier.
You lose both fat and water weight on a diet so you’ll need to give your body adequate amounts of water every day. You’ll need to keep hydrated when exercising anyway.
It is recommended that you drink about 8-10 glasses of water every day, about 64 – 80 ounces in total.
There are some really nice apps for both Android and iOS that will help track and remind you to drink water.
2. Reduce Beer and Alcohol Consumption
You love beer and want to keep drinking beer. You also want to lose your beer belly.
It’s time to make a decision as to which one you want more.
Since you’ve read this far, I’ll take a wild guess and say that you probably want to lose your beer belly more. This is good but have no fear – you don’t have to completely give up beer.
Although beer isn’t the main culprit for the visceral fat around your midsection, it does play a part so it would help to significantly reduce beer and alcohol consumption in order to achieve your goal weight.
The thing about beer is that it can mess up the body’s ability to burn fat. Since the body identifies beer as a toxin, it has to be removed and this takes a lot of energy. Instead of burning carbs and stored fat, the body uses the alcohol and any calories that you take in from beer or the food you eat along with it ends up being stored as fat, usually around the midsection (hence the term “beer belly”).
Besides being a hindrance to fat burning, alcohol consumption can affect your sleep, increase appetite and a lot of other things that work against you if you’re trying to lose weight.
The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism suggests that you have no more than 14 drinks per week, an average of no more than 2 per day or no more than 4 drinks in a single day.
3. Exercise and Physical Activity
The right changes in your diet can help you to cut unwanted calories but it’s the exercise and physical activity that will work at burning off calories to create a calorie deficit even when you’re not actually working out.
Pairing a low-carb, high protein diet with the right exercise can produce dramatic results and your beer belly will gradually disappear if you’re consistent.
You can’t target belly fat by itself so forget about the crunches for now. Your beer belly is usually the first to go when you start applying a consistent workout routine anyway.
Suggested exercises to do:
Cardio – Start with a brisk 20 minute walk every morning. This one activity will set you up for fat burning long after you’ve rested.
Throughout the day, you can work cardio into your lifestyle by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, cycling to do near-by errands, dancing and swimming when you go to the beach.
High-intensity interval training – working out in short bursts can speed up your metabolism and burn fat faster than traditional exercise.
Run at top speed for 30 seconds and then take a 4 minute rest to catch your breath. Repeat this routine for up to half an hour.
Resistance training – Cardio and resistance training combined can burn more fat than just doing cardio by itself. You can use free weights or exercise machines to do short high intensity workouts.
Core exercises – There are variations of these exercises that help to build and tone muscle as you burn fat.
- Leg reaches
4. Make Lifestyle Changes
There is more to losing weight than just changing your diet and exercising. Long after you’ve gotten rid of your beer belly, you will want to make sure it doesn’t come back.
Making a few lifestyle changes can make a difference when it comes to losing and maintaining weight. You don’t have to feel guilty if you break a few of these rules from time to time but at least make a conscious effort to follow them.
For example, you can still eat out from time to time as long as you don’t eat out more often than you prepare your meals at home.
Here are some lifestyle changes you can make to see the results you need.
Get enough sleep – You should aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Studies show that sleep deprivation can cause you to crave high calorie foods. Similarly, over-sleeping (more than 9 hours) can cause you to pack on the pounds due to inactivity.
Reduce stress – Stress can increase cravings even when the body doesn’t naturally feel hungry. This can cause you to reach for ‘comfort food’ – the unhealthy ones, like ice-cream or donuts.
Find ways to lower stress levels as it could be more beneficial to your waist-line.
Eat out less – The more you prepare your own food, the better. Restaurant food and fast food aren’t the healthiest as they can be packed with calories from the unhealthy kinds of fat and carbs.
Preparing your meals at home more often than eating out lets you stick to the prescribed diet which will get you results faster.
Drink green tea – Drinking green tea has a surprising number of benefits. Skip the morning coffee and drink green tea which has been shown to help your body oxidize fat at a much faster rate.
Drink more water – This is mentioned in the diet section but it can’t be said enough. Drink more water. It flushes the body of toxins, suppresses the appetite, boosts metabolism and keeps you hydrated after workouts and physical activity.
Water can also help replace calorie filled drinks. Simply replace juices by drinking a glass of water flavored with a slice of lemon or your favorite fruit.
5. Stay Motivated
Like anything worth having, losing weight can come as a worthy challenge and you might feel tempted to give up or abandon your routine.
You need to stay motivated as you work towards your goals.
Keep a visual reminder of why you wanted to lose your beer belly in the first place and look at it everyday. Losing weight isn’t nearly as hard as it may seem. It’s just that there is always some temptation that keeps popping up to try to derail your progress.
I hope that these steps help you on your way to losing the beer belly and going even further. Perhaps you want six pack abs – this is totally possible even if it doesn’t look like it right now.
You can use these steps as a guide to losing your beer belly but you can get a more organized diet that works by checking out my top recommended diet plan.