Losing stubborn belly fat can be a huge dilemma for most people. Setting out to get a flat stomach is not rocket science but involves several steps like creating a calorie deficit, exercising, and staying consistent. Each individual is different, and how a regimen works for one may produce different results for another.
Tips From A Trainer
Losing all the fat in your belly is not necessarily healthy. Only losing extra weight is essential for good health. 90% of body fat is subcutaneous, which is present right under the skin to keep the body warm and aid other functions.
The remaining 10% is visceral fat that accumulates beneath the abdominal walls and in the empty spaces between organs. This fat is dangerous and can lead to health issues like cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Crash diets and supplements may work at eliminating fat, but this could be a loss of healthy fat instead. Even spot reduction is impossible with these.
Your best bet is to lose excess body fat healthily to tone your body and achieve a flat tummy. This also helps eradicate visceral fat, which you need to eliminate.
So, if you are interested in achieving a flat stomach and are willing to put in the right amount of effort, you are at the right place. Today, we shall look at the science behind stomach fat loss and the factors that come into play. Let’s get started!
How Long Does It Really Take To Get A Flat Stomach?
If you have been sedentary for a long period, getting your body back into shape while revving up your metabolism will surely take time, effort, and patience. You need to understand nothing happens overnight, and weight loss is not magic!
That said, it is also true that different individuals may take different amounts of time to get their desired waist circumference. Since human bodies come in all shapes and sizes, it can take as long as 48 months to achieve results or as short as 4 months.
Plus, the amount of weight you need to lose, how long you have been piling it up, how dedicated and consistent you are, and several other factors will lengthen or shorten the time frame to lose weight.
Following fad diets and shortcuts to lose weight in 21 days or less will end in crashes, binge eating, or gaining weight right after you stop. The only way to achieve a flat stomach is through hard work, consistency, a proper diet, exercise, and, most importantly, by giving it time.
How Can I Start Working Towards A Flat Stomach?
To get a flat stomach, you will need a detailed plan while ensuring you have realistic goals. Thinking you will lose 5 to 8 pounds in the next 10 weeks is a sane expectation.
Weight loss occurs with lifestyle changes that should not be temporary. Do not expect to suddenly lose weight in a week or two by thinking the journey is a sprint or marathon. You will fail some days, and the ride will be bumpy, but making it to the end is what counts.
Let us look at changes that you will need to make once you have a realistic approach in mind:
Clean Up Your Diet And Make Better Food Choices
The first thing you need to do is start eating a more balanced diet. Add more fruits, vegetables, proteins, and whole grains/nuts, and increase fiber intake. Omit high-sugar and high-fat foods with zero nutrients and fast food with empty calories.
Weight gain is often directly related to poor food choices, stress, irregular sleep patterns, and lack of movement/physical activity. Therefore, targeting these will turn on the weight loss cycle successfully.
To rev up your metabolism, build muscle mass and gain a flat tummy, it is necessary to build a diet that provides nutrients and energy without adding to weight accumulation.
Some healthy foods that can help you get a flatter stomach includes:
- Whole grains and beans
- Fennel seeds
- Cucumbers, asparagus, spinach, and leafy greens
- Chamomile/peppermint tea
- Dark chocolate
- Olive oil/healthy fats
- Whole wheat bread
You can eat all the good food there is, but it will not help you lose weight if you fail to practice portion control. You need to know how much you eat in a day and how to create a calorie deficit.
It is a good idea to perform a self-audit for at least a week to monitor your diet patterns closely. Carefully track what food you eat, what kind you consume, and how many calories your portions contain.
Calories are units of energy you get from food, so you can either burn some to lose weight or consume less to force the body to burn some stored fat instead.
The best way to start creating a calorie deficit is by increasing your water intake and cutting out sodas, alcohol, and sweet drinks with added cream/sugar.
Reduce junk food intake, takeouts, processed foods, baked goods, and packaged sweets/crisps. Opt for low-fat dairy and grilled/boiled food, and keep track of calories even when you eat at a restaurant. Make use of a free calorie-counting app to aid this.
Also, consider food density and portion/cup sizes and add lean protein to your diet to build muscle mass while losing tummy fat.
Other smart things you can do to balance caloric intake include:
- Use smaller plates/bowls.
- Reduce food portions.
- Always use a measured amount of oil for cooking.
- Eat slowly.
- Drink plenty of water before and after meals.
- Take half your meal home to eat later when you go out to a restaurant.
- Do not snack in front of the TV.
Get In Regular Exercise To Burn More Calories
Regular exercise will boost metabolic activity and speed up the fat-burning process. Perform abdominal exercises that target your stomach to help strengthen abdominal muscles and reduce waist circumference. However, this will not help burn visceral fat. You can perform the following to burn body fat instead:
- Half an hour of moderate-intensity exercises at least 5 days a week.
- Strength training to build muscle mass and core muscles.
- Perform warm-ups and stretches after waking up and before going to bed.
- Aerobic exercises twice a week.
- Use stairs and walk instead of driving to a nearby location.
- Take short walks after meals.
- Indulge in sports/activities like hiking, fishing, dancing, golfing, jogging, etc., for an added boost.
What Is A Realistic Timeline To Get A Flat Stomach?
As mentioned above, setting realistic goals and believing that your body will take time to show results is essential.
Remember to take it one day at a time and not let any failures demotivate you. Do not compare yourself or your journey to another person’s because everyone’s body is different.
Fitness journeys rely heavily on current weight, fitness level, activity level, stress, chronic conditions, blood pressure, and sleep patterns. Instagram models flaunting their small waist size on social media and saying they achieved results in just a few weeks is completely misleading. So, focusing on your health is better than running after unrealistic goals.
Exercises For A Flat Belly
Exercises and sports that help burn calories and build core muscles will aid in achieving a flat belly. However, if you do wish to follow a set regime, you can perform the following types of exercise mentioned below:
- Strength and resistance training
- Body weight exercise
- Low-intensity steady-state cardio (LISS)
- High-intensity steady-state cardio (HISS)
Pick exercises that you love and can easily perform regularly. Remember, consistency is key to achieving the best results.
We have reached the end of this guide, and we hope you found it useful. Remember that your journey is your own and how long it takes you to gain a flatter stomach does not matter as long as you are happy with the results and amount of effort you put in.
Always go slow and take good care of your health so you can lose weight safely based on your body type. Good luck!
Flat Stomach Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)
How Long Does It Take To Get A Flat Stomach?
It can take some people 48 months, while it can take others just 4 months to lose belly fat. Every person’s journey is unique and is based on hard work and dedication. The journey can lengthen or shorten based on initial weight, consistency, and activity levels.
Is Getting A Flat Stomach Easy?
Yes, it is easy if you are willing to work hard enough. You should be able to make lifestyle changes by creating a calorie deficit, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet. It is also good to eliminate sleep deprivation, hydrate by drinking water, and reduce stress levels.
What Exercise Burns The Most Body Fat?
Cardio, HIIT, and strength training are great ways to burn body fat. Participating in sports and outdoor activities can also aid fat reduction.
Michael Currie is a personal trainer and online fitness and weight loss coach from Vancouver British Columbia in Canada. He has been training for over 10 years and has gone through it all – weight gain, weight loss, building muscle, and injuries. You can find Michael online at The Fitness Report.