If you don’t want to lose weight but you want a flat stomach, this article will show you how to lose belly fat without losing weight.
Is belly fat ruining your look even though you’re happy with the rest of your body? Well, you’re not alone. There are many skinny people with belly fat.
The good news is you can lose belly fat without becoming thinner or losing your curves.
Now, I’m not talking about spot reduction. We all know that’s not possible to target fat loss at a particular body part.
But you can burn fat without losing muscle mass and this will make your stomach flat.
How to lose belly fat without losing weight
1. Maintain a low calorie deficit
You have to maintain a calorie deficit in order to lose belly fat. This means burning more calories than you consume.
Research shows that a huge calorie deficit leads to loss of fat and muscle. But a low calorie deficit can allow you to burn fat without losing muscle.
A huge calorie deficit also adds physical stress to the body and this makes it harder to lose belly fat.
Maintain a deficit of 15 to 25 percent of your total daily calorie intake. If your total daily calorie intake is 2000 calories, maintain a deficit of 300-500 calories.
If you don’t know the number of calories you should consume, go here to calculate your total daily caloric needs.
2. Increase protein intake
Increasing protein intake has several benefits:
- Protein will prevent muscle loss – see study
- Protein will keep you full for long – see study
- High protein intake helps reduce abdominal fat – see study
Assuming you’ll be doing strength training, eat 1-1.4 grams of protein per pound (2.3-3.1 grams per kg) of your bodyweight.
Here are high protein foods you should add to your diet.
3. Start doing strength training
Strength training will help prevent muscle loss and it can actually increase muscle mass even when on a calorie deficit, research shows.
Frankly, you can’t lose belly fat without losing weight if you don’t do strength training.
I may also note that strength training will be more rewarding if you’ve never done it before.
But don’t start your workouts with too much enthusiasm. Start slow then increase intensity as you get fitter.
2 or 3 workouts a week work best for beginners. After a few weeks you can advance to 4-5 workouts a week.
4. Stretch your hip flexors
Tight hip flexors can make the belly look big even if you’re skinny.
Sitting for long hours tightens the hip flexors which eventually tilts the pelvis and makes the belly stick out.
Stretching the hips flexors can also treat lordosis – a condition which makes the belly stick out.
5. Avoid long steady cardio
Long steady cardio can cause skinny fat syndrome, especially if you don’t do strength training.
Plus, doing lots of cardio while on a calorie deficit can cause muscle loss. Research also shows that long steady cardio can lead to overtraining.
If you have to do cardio, limit it to less than 30 minutes per session. But realize that high intensity exercises burn more fat and will give you a better look.
6. Perform high intensity exercises
Research shows that high intensity exercises have better fat burning effects than steady cardio.
According to this study, 2 minutes of high intensity training has the same fat burning effect as 30 minutes of steady cardio.
High intensity training is effective because it boosts metabolism during and after workout. And it also increases muscle mass.
Combining strength training with high intensity exercises will help you lose belly fat without losing weight.
7. Correct your posture
Sometimes the stomach sticks out because of poor posture, not excess belly fat.
A curved back, rounded shoulders, and forward head posture can make your belly look bigger.
Luckily, bodyweight exercises can fix these posture issues.
Do corrective exercises consistently and be patient because it takes time to correct poor posture.
You may also want to avoid slouching while sitting, sticking your head out in front, and other bad habits that ruin posture.
8. Manage your stress
Stress and high cortisol levels cause weight gain. Even worse, research shows that high cortisol levels make fat settle around the abdominal area.
Meditation, yoga, exercise, walking, and quality sleep are proven ways to reduce stress.
I want to stress on the importance of sleep – lack of quality sleep can hinder belly fat loss. Make sure you get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
9. Don’t ignore ab exercises
Ab exercises may not help reduce belly fat but they’ll tone your abdominal muscles.
In fact, some ab exercises like the plank and stomach vacuum strengthen the transverse abdominis muscles which consequently tighten the stomach and make it smaller.
Ab exercises will definitely help especially if your body fat percentage is not very high.
The best abs exercises include the plank, bicycles, flutter kicks and hanging knee raises.
You may also want to check out how to build ripped abs using an ab wheel roller only.
10. Full body workouts are the best
Earlier I mentioned that strength training is important but I didn’t tell you the best exercises.
Well, full body exercises are the best for burning belly fat since they burn lots of calories and increase muscle mass.
Focus on exercises that target the big muscles groups. That is, the legs, glutes, back, arms, and shoulders.
Here full body exercises that don’t require weights.
11. Avoid all calorie-containing beverages
You probably know that diet soda, regular soda, and energy drinks cause weight gain. But did you know that fresh juice can also expand your waistline?
Yes, fresh juice contains the same amount of sugar as soda.
Steer clear of all calorie-containing beverages. Instead, drink water and other healthy drinks.
12. Reduce alcohol intake
Beer belly isn’t a myth. According to research, people who drink alcohol have more belly fat than those who don’t drink.
There’s also evidence showing that alcohol hinders fat burning.
Avoid alcohol altogether or drink safe alcoholic beverages like red wine, light beer, or champagne.
13. Reduce water retention and bloating
Water retention occurs when the body holds excess fluid.
Water retention can make you heavier and bigger. And it can sometimes cause swelling in the legs, ankles, and hands.
Most times people with water retention are also bloated. Bloating makes the belly look bigger.
Some of the things you can do to reduce water retention and bloating include:
- Reduce salt intake
- Eat potassium-rich foods
- Increase intake of vitamin B6
- Reduce intake of refined carbs
- And drink plenty of water
If you follow these tips you’ll be able to lose belly fat without losing weight.
Now go ahead and put them into action.
What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to losing belly fat?