Here’s the truth: everyone has some belly fat, even your favourite Instagram fitness icon. Nothing abnormal about that. But an excess of belly fat can affect your health in a way that other fat doesn’t. Some of your fat is stored right under your skin. Other fat is deeper inside, around your heart, liver, lungs, and other organs. It’s that deeper fat – known as “visceral” fat — that may be a big problem, even for thin people. You need some visceral fat. It provides cushioning around your vital organs. But too much of it increases the likelihood of getting high blood pressure, heart disease, and certain cancers, including breast cancers and colon cancers.

So how does one beat belly fat? Here are the key elements to keeping it in check: diet, exercise, and sleep.

 

1. Diet

There is no miracle diet for belly fat. But certain foods do help cut down general body fat, including belly fat. Green tea works very well to aid in the burning of excess weight and body fat. The epigallocatechin gallate component in green tea serves as a thermogenic, meaning that it stimulates the fat-burning process. It should be noted that you’d need to drink at least seven cups of green tea per day or take two to three capsules of a green-tea supplement to get the effects. Increasing your fiber intake also helps, research shows that people who eat fiber rich food (oranges, beans, leafy greens etc.) build up less visceral fat over time than others. As hard as it may be, it also pays greatly to avoid alcohol, all processed foods (bread, two minute noodles, cookies) and reduce your intake of starchy foods.

 

2. Exercise

Vigorous exercise burns fat. Get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least 5 days a week. Walking counts, as long as it’s brisk enough that you build up a sweat and breathe harder, with your heart rate faster than usual. keep in mind that Spot reduction (losing fat in one spot) is not possible, and doing endless amounts of crunches will not make you lose fat from the belly. Engage in aerobic exercises like swimming and jogging. Add some squatting and weight lifting for faster results.

3. Sleep

Getting the right amount of sleep helps. Studies show that people who don’t get enough sleep tend to gain more weight, which may include belly fat. In another study, people who got 6 to 7 hours of sleep per night gained less visceral fat over 5 years compared to those who slept 5 or fewer hours per night or 8 or more hours per night. Sleep may not have been the only thing that counted — but it was part of the picture.

Here’s to achieving your dream belly(and body). You can do it!