I always tell people that, unlike other types of fat on your body, visceral fat does not want to be there. Also unlike other forms of fat on your body, there is no healthy amount of visceral fat to hold on to. It's important to have some body fat, but visceral fat has to go! Here are a few tips to reduce visceral belly fat.
You’ll probably shake your head if I tell you that visceral fat is relatively easy it lose. I say relatively because there is no magic pill or quick fix to lose unhealthy body fat, but if you do the work and stick with it, the visceral fat will come off.
3 Tips to Lose Visceral Belly Fat
Visceral fat impacts a lot of other hormones and organs that get tired and beaten up because of it. So when I write about losing belly fat, I don’t want the takeaway to be “Traci is telling me to lose weight and diet.” Not at all. But I do want the takeaway to be “Traci is telling me to be more conscious of my overall health.”
If you change the focus of why you're trying to lose fat, great stuff usually happens. Focusing on shedding unhealthy body fat so you can fit into a dress for a wedding is great, but focusing on shedding unhealthy body fat so you keep inflammation low and your body moving as it did 10 or 15 years ago, (which is entirely possible)...well that's where the sweet stuff is. It's also where the happy and fulfilling stuff is.
So what's the fastest path?
There is no fast path, but there is a path forward. Remember, if you have visceral fat to lose, it didn't come on overnight, or even over two weeks, so it's sure going to take longer to get rid of it.
If you feel discouraged or sort of helpless when it comes to losing belly fat, just take a breath. Chances are there are a bunch of things you’re doing right now that could be worked. Everyone is different, and no one is perfect. Usually, the things we could improve upon start with unhealthy habits. could be worked. Everyone is different, and no one is perfect.
#1 Focus on NEAT for a 15% Belly Fat Burn
NEAT stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, or the number of calories you burn throughout the day by doing day-to-day stuff, not including exercise itself. If you have a desk job or sit around a lot, listen up!
Research has shown that people who get up and move around (walking up the stairs, walk the dog, parking further from the entrance of the grocery store, etc) have a significantly higher NEAT caloric burn vs people who simply just sit around. This might be obvious.
Person A who has a desk job and mostly stays seated throughout the day will burn 500 calories less than Person B who has a desk job but gets up every 20 to 30 minutes to move around and do something (i.e. visit the bathroom, stand up to work, go for a lunchtime walk). That’s all it takes.
NEAT can add up to a 15% boost in caloric burn, helping you burn belly fat without even working up a sweat. Yes, it’s really that simple.
Pro Tip to Get Started: Get up every 30 minutes and do something. Even if it means standing up to work, or getting up to go to the bathroom - get up. Shedding 500 calories, or so, every day by just moving around a little more may not sound like a lot, but it adds up fast. Move and move often.
#2 Stop Drinking Your Calories for a 22% Improvement
The average American drinks 22% of their calories. Soda, juices, and energy drinks make up a majority of those beverages, not including alcoholic beverages. Diet sodas and coffee drinks are also on the list and should be cut out to really see a shift.
Not everyone is really happy when I mention coffee drinks and diet sodas, but they’re not helping you get close to your goals either. If you’re drinking one 8-ounce cup of coffee in the morning, you’re probably okay, but if you’re caffeinating yourself throughout the morning and into the afternoon, you’re activating stress hormones that have one very important job: to store fat.
Regardless, liquid calories are typically higher in sugar and other ingredients that like to make a home in your fat cells. Water, sparkling water, and herbal teas are always great backups.
Pro Tip to Get Started: Find something that will take the place of what you're drinking. If you're drinking your calories, even one a day, cutting this drink out is probably the easiest thing you can do to lose belly fat without even trying. In lieu of a caloric or diet drink, aim for sparkling water, regular water, or herbal tea (iced or hot). Even if your drink is only 100 calories, that translates to 10 pounds over one year!
#3 Eat More Catabolically for a 100% Game Changer
This is the least understood and most important thing I wish everyone knew. All food ranges from anabolic (building) to catabolic (breaking down). When you eat a high protein diet, you’re eating to build. When you eat a vegetable-based diet, you’re eating to break down.
You want to build, right? I mean, that’s what we’ve been taught. No, not all the time.
Think of your liver as your body’s primary detoxification organ. Everything you eat engages the liver in some way. A healthy liver will be able to bag up the garbage it comes in contact with and begin the detoxification process, improving fat metabolism every step of the way.
Over time, and thanks to high-sugar or processed diets, the liver gets bogged down and needs help. This is where a catabolic way of eating helps in a very big way.
A catabolic diet helps to detoxify the liver and the body, bagging up the garbage and moving it out of your body via elimination. The after-effects? Reduced elimination and improved fat metabolism.
It’s like a spring cleaning for your body.
Eat more of these catabolic foods to help your body detoxify, increasing fat metabolism:
- Brussel sprouts
- Leafy greens
- Ginger tea
- Berries (any)
- Sunflower Seeds (roasted)
- Apple Cider Vinegar
The list is much longer, but if you try to incorporate at least 3 to 5 servings of these foods in your daily meal planning while decreasing the amount of anabolic foods (high protein foods especially) for just one week, I think you’ll be really happy.
You don’t need to cut out protein for good, but it is really important to do a detox for a week or so, at least seasonally.
Pro Tip to Get Started: Just eat more of these foods!