When people ask how to burn belly fat, the answer they expect usually has to do with diet and exercise. Not this one...
I was sifting through questions the other day, looking for a few good ones to tackle next (which reminds me - send in your questions!). I had my 8 month old on my lap as I read, and then I came across ( yet another ) question on belly fat reduction.
I usually answer those questions with the you cant spot reduce answer (which is still true). This time, though, I decided to look at it from a different perspective...
All because of my 8 month old. Yeah, my ideas and thoughts come from weird places, I know.
I am really struggling here. I can lose fat pretty much everywhere but my stomach. Can you tell me how to burn belly fat once and for all?
Thanks again, keep up the great work!
Hey Jonathan, this is definitely a common question, and one I think I (and many other experts) either gloss over or just dont get. ( I fall into the gloss over group, Ive weighed more than an 1/8 of a ton before, so I know how that struggle goes).
I bet you are expecting some sort of diet and exercise answer... but I want to give you something more.
So let me answer it in a different way this time...
"To People Who Want To Burn Fat - But Can't Get Started"
FREE:Want to increase your fat burning?
Grab your complimentary subscription to Middle Management™ and get Ben's FatBurners 101™ videos now...
Module 1: Create a Concrete Plan with the 4 M's
Module 2: 4 Super Simple Ways to Stay Motivated
Module 3: Little Used Secret Burn More Fat 24-Hours Per Day
Module 4: 7 Easy Steps to Melting Fat Permanently
The subscription is FREE and only available through this offer.
Join below and receive your first lesson immediately without any delay.
As I was looking at this question, I noticed the meat sleeves of baby fat on my little boy - you know where the roll ends at his wrist, making it look like a sleeve.
Hmm, thats interesting, I thought.
Just to make sure, I picked him up and spun him around. Yep. Just what I thought. He doesnt have a fat belly. His baby fat is pretty uniformly distributed over his arms, legs, belly, etc.
Mine was not evenly distributed, and I am betting that yours isnt either.
As we grow older, particularly as we get into adulthood, we tend to accumulate fat in certain areas faster than others.
And one of those places, particularly for men, is in our stomachs.
And, while part of the answer to how to burn belly fat is still that you cant spot reduce, it is also doesnt sufficiently answered by the corollary to that, which is you lose weight all over your body at the same rate.
As with anything, when you want to know how to lose belly fat, there is bad news and there is good news.
First, the bad news...
Yes, when you burn fat, you do lose it from all over. That is, doing crunches doesnt burn more fat from your belly just like doing curls doesnt burn more fat from your arms.
So, why the obsession with belly fat (other than the 6-pack abs thing, of course)?
Well, we dont have a uniform layer of fat. What do I mean? My 8 month old son has roughly the same thickness of fat all over his body. His forearms are just a fat as everything else. He doesn't have to worry about how to burn belly fat (which is a good thing, since he is pretty preoccupied with making messes).
So, if I were crazy (Im not) and put him on a diet and exercise plan (I am not going to), then he probably wouldnt be asking me questions about belly fat. He would lose it about the same time as he lost his forearm fat (Im not going to lie, its weird typing forearm fat).
As adults, though, we dont put it on uniformly. In fact, men like me accumulate it first in our bellies and then other places. Thats because evolution has determined that is the optimal place to carry the excess, stored energy.
And while your belly is the first place you put it on, its the last place it comes off. Because of that evolution thing, we tend to spend a lot of time worrying about belly fat reduction.
Imagine a pile of sand that has flowed through an hourglass. Its piled up in the middle. Now if you remove a slice from the bottom of the hour glass, you lower the total level of sand, but you still have the pile in the middle.
You dont lose it from one area and then another. You lose it all over. The pile gets smaller.
In the same way, your belly shrinks. But your layers of fat are thicker there (just like the pile of sand) so it takes longer to get rid of the pile in the middle.
But there is good news! There are some steps that you can take to encourage belly fat reduction. Even outside of just diet and exercise.
You see, there are hormonal and chemical triggers that can destroy even the best laid diet and exercise plans.
In several places, I talk about the three pillars of burning fat and building muscle.
Most people, for some odd reason, only talk about first two.
When you dont get enough sleep, you produce less leptin. Leptin is an appetite suppressing protein. It also sends a message up to your brain that your belly is full.
Therefore, when you dont sleep, you feel hungry. Now you know why its so hard to beat back those cravings when you are watching those late night infomercials (ironically - well, now that I thing about it, maybe not - for the latest, greatest, wont work in a million years but will probably make a million dollars, piece of junk, get abs contraption).
One of the I use to get more sleep and work on my belly fat reduction is by making a list. My brain tends to go into overdrive when I get in bed, thinking about all of the things I need to do the next day. If I simply write them down, it moves those things from my head to the paper. And then its much easier for me to relax and drift off to sleep.
Speaking of relaxing...
This is an easy one for me. As you all are probably aware by now, I am low maintenance and laid back. Flip flops and Buffett every chance I get.
It turns out that if you want to learn how to burn belly fat, you have to learn how to relax a bit. When you stress, you body releases all kinds of fancy hormones. In particular, you produce insulin, cortisol and adrenaline.
Spikes in insulin can trigger your body to store fat. Thats bad enough, but when you combine it with spikes in cortisol, you really have a belly fat building double whammy (whammy is a technical term :-) ).
You see, cortisol seems to cause your body to store not just fat, but specifically belly fat. Thats right. The more stressed you are, the more cortisol you produce, and the more belly fat you store.
In order to manage my stress, particularly during the day, is to pop in my ear buds, crank some Jimmy Buffett, and get outside for a 5 or 10 minute walk. Plus it has the added benefit of being, well, you know, exercise!
So, to put is simply, if you want to know how to burn belly fat, relax. Literally. And get a good nights sleep.
Leave How to Burn Belly Fat and Return Home