For some people, belly fat is completely normal and healthy since it is in the form of stored energy, but commonly too much abdominal fat is found to be harmful which is linked to diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.
That being said, everyone’s body stores and reacts to fat differently. In most cases, fat tends to gather around the lower belly region.
Belly fat can be caused by many factors such as:
- Poor diet
- Lack of physical activity
- Lifestyle (daily routine)
- Alcohol and smoking
Fat loss is a common goal for everyone nowadays. If you’re overweight, training your whole body to get rid of fat would be the only way, and for those who are skinny or average but have a bigger tummy can make certain lifestyle changes to lose abdominal fat.
The key to this lifestyle is just two things; patience and consistency.
Diet to lose lower belly fat
Food impacts your very well-being, from physical to mental to spiritual health. Before any kind of exercise, yoga or workout routine, you need to make sure that your diet is your primary concern.
1) Less calorie intake:
When you consume more calories than you usually burn, you tend to develop something known as visceral fat. This type of fat is being collected in your belly region.
So, avoid eating processed foods which are high in sugars and cut down white rice, red meat, full-fat yogurt, fast food and more.
2) Avoid sugar-sweetened foods or drinks:
This is one of the common causes for excess weight. Too much sugar not only aids weight gain, but also causes obesity which leads to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and blood pressure.
Sugary beverages slows down a person’s metabolism and ability to burn fat. You can always have whole fruits or fruit juice by making it at your home without any additional sugar.
3) Protein and fiber rich diet:
To help maintain lean and healthy muscles, you must add protein and fiber sources to your diet. Protein helps you to lose weight and also avoids gaining extra weight.
Protein particularly reduces belly or abdominal fat and boosts metabolism. Foods which include protein and other nutrients without unhealthy fats are:
- Beans and legumes
Fiber is the most important nutrient for digestive health, which is effective in treating bloating and constipation. It also provides a feeling of prolonged fullness which is great when you’re looking for weight loss.
Consuming plant-based foods are the best way to get more fiber which includes vegetables and fruits. Fiber rich sources of food include:
- Whole grains
- Dried fruits
- Green leafy vegetables
Workout routine to help lose weight
Once you take care of your diet, the second thing to usually do is take up yoga or create your own set of exercises.
Somedays when you are not in a mood to do so, walking a few kms would also make a great impact on your weight loss journey.
Yoga poses to reduce belly fat:
1) Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
This pose works on your abdominal muscles, therefore using up the extra fat that has built in your belly region.
1) Lie down on the floor on your belly.
2) Keep your hands on the floor facing downwards, next to your shoulders.
3) Stretch your legs almost together and toes outwards.
4) Lift your trunk and head by pushing your palms down the ground (shoulder-width apart) and slightly bend your arms at the elbows.
5) Make sure that your lower abdomen is touching the ground.
6) Raise your neck and look upward gently.
7) Press the tops of feet firmly into the floor.
8) Hold this position for 30 seconds and breathe calmly.
9) Slowly come back to your previous lying position with an exhalation.
2) Khumbhakasana (The plank)
This is the most common and well-known pose or exercise. One of the best poses to tone your abdominal muscles and burn your belly fat.
1) Lie down on your tummy.
2) Hands near the shoulders and spread your fingers.
3) Now with your wrists pressing down into the floor, life your body up and engage your abdomen region.
4) Balance on your toes and keep your gaze down.
5) Stay on this pose for a few breaths, take a break and repeat as long as you want.
Kapalbhati (Pranayama technique)
There is one breathing technique that focuses mainly on the belly region. It’s called Kapalbhati. Regular practice of this for atleast 10 minutes a day is beneficial for abdominal fat loss.
1) Sit in a cross-legged posture, or Sukhasana.
2) Hold your hands in vayu or gyan mudra (hand gesture) and place them on your knees.
3) Start the breath work by forcefully pushing your stomach inwards while breathing out. Focus only on the exhalation part, as the inhalation will be passive and automatic.
4) Keep doing this breath work for a few minutes (3-5 mins) and take a break.
5) Do this for atleast 10 mins a day.
Exercises to get rid of Lower Belly Fat
This is an exercise that engage your lower abs and stomach. It’s a great way to tighten and strengthen your core.
1) Lie flat on the floor on your back with your arms extended back over your head.
2) Bring your arms and legs towards each other by working on your core. Also, make sure to bring your head along with your arms.
3) Aim to reach your knees.
4) Try to do 3 sets of 15 reps initially and increase rep and time limit after a few days as per your capacity.
This is a fun way to tone your core as well as some of your other body muscles.
1) Get into a plank position, wrists directly under your shoulders.
2) Engaging your core, pull your right knee toward your chest and go back to plank and then pull your left knee toward your chest and bring it back again.
3) Keep doing the same pattern on alternate sides as long as feel your core tighten up.
You can also add some changes to your lifestyle that can help you lose weight more efficiently.
Some of these are:
1) Completely avoid or cut off drinking alcohol.
2) Quit smoking.
3) Drink plenty of water.
4) Be mindful of what you eat and eating slow can actually help you to avoid overeating.
5) Move your body often so that you can release your stress in a natural way.