Vine recommends beginning by taking note of your weight, body fat percentage and muscle mass using one of the above methods. Watch how these figures change over a few days – is your weight and muscle mass dropping, but your body fat increasing, despite regular workouts, for example? ‘That could mean you’re eating too many carbs and not enough protein to sustain your muscle,’ Vine says. Tweak your regime accordingly and monitor the numbers again. Repeat until it’s solely fat coming off.
First, the bad news: Three-quarters of Americans have a "fat gene" associated with a 20 to 30 percent higher risk for obesity. But that doesn't mean you're destined to be heavy. For starters, research found that just believing that you have the fat gene may actually reinforce unhealthy behaviors. Plus, a British review found that exercise can trump your genetics: Physically active people with the fat gene are 27 percent less likely to become obese than couch potatoes who have it. We're not talking about training for a triathlon; the active people got just one hour or more of moderate-to-vigorous exercise a week. Aim for the recommended five hours a week (three days of cardio and two days of strength training) and you'll rev your weight-loss results even more.
A 2012 study also showed that people on a low-carb diet burned 300 more calories a day – while resting! According to one of the Harvard professors behind the study this advantage “would equal the number of calories typically burned in an hour of moderate-intensity physical activity”. Imagine that: an entire bonus hour of exercise every day, without actually exercising. A later, even larger and more carefully conducted study confirmed the effect, with different groups of people on low-carb diets burning an average of between 200 and almost 500 extra calories per day.1
But that’s not the “weight loss” most people are looking for, because most people don’t actually care about “weight” loss. They care about fat loss. When most people say “I want to lose weight,” what they really mean is “I want to lose fat tissue.” Most people probably wouldn’t care about the number on the scale (their “weight”) if they had their ideal body type, and most people probably wouldn’t consider their weight-loss goals accomplished if they went Mars where their “weight” would technically be lower.
Eating enough protein – around 25% of calories – can probably help. Some supplements, like glycine and BCAAs might also be useful. But what helps even more is exercise. Even though it doesn’t cause weight loss on its own, exercise is still a powerful tool for making sure that weight changes (loss or gain) go in the direction you want (fat loss/muscle gain) instead of turning into a problem (muscle loss/fat gain).
A particular diet may be chosen to seek weight loss or weight gain. Changing a subject's dietary intake, or "going on a diet", can change the energy balance and increase or decrease the amount of fat stored by the body. Some foods are specifically recommended, or even altered, for conformity to the requirements of a particular diet. These diets are often recommended in conjunction with exercise. Specific weight loss programs can be harmful to health, while others may be beneficial and can thus be coined as healthy diets. The terms "healthy diet" and "diet for weight management" are often related, as the two promote healthy weight management. Having a healthy diet is a way to prevent health problems, and will provide the body with the right balance of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
So best stock up on protein-enriched products then? ‘Supplements should only be used if you can’t meet your targets through a healthy, balanced diet alone,’ Vine says. ‘The more nutritious sources of energy you feed your body with, the more it will want to use them – meaning your training will improve, you’ll burn more calories and build more muscle, and you’ll lose more body fat.’
Which leads us to point number two: If you want to lose belly fat, you'll need to lose weight. If you stick to the following plan, you won't have to lose as much weight as you might think because your body will burn more fat for energy, but still. Reducing your body fat percentage will require losing some weight. Don't go into this thinking you won't have to lose weight, because that's the surest way to fail.
Simply take a good hard look at your diet, make a few modifications you can stick with and get your body moving. Not sure where you stand on diet? Write down everything you eat this week, then compare it to the list above and see where you could have made better choices. Don’t beat yourself up though, learning how to lose stomach fat fast is a process. Simply find areas to improve and work on them next week.