How to Lose Belly Fat

It’s not just about vanity: Having too much belly fat can be dangerous. Fat accumulated in the abdomen produces substances that can contribute to heart disease and diabetes.

Fortunately, it’s possible to lose belly fat by making key dietary changes and adopting healthy lifestyle habits. Start by measuring your waist—a waist measurement above 40 inches for women and 40 inches for men indicates too much belly fat.


A regular exercise routine is the single best way to lose belly fat. Moderate-intensity exercise like walking or running helps burn calories, and when combined with a healthy diet, will also help you trim the waistline.

However, don’t get fixated on planks and crunches — spot training can tighten the abdominal muscles, but it won’t eliminate visceral fat. The key is to combine cardiovascular activity with whole-body strength training.

HIIT workouts, which combine 30 seconds of intense activity with 30-second rest periods before moving onto the next exercise, are effective belly-fat burners. Other effective exercises include overhead medicine ball slams and mountain climbers.

Weight training is another great belly-fat burner because it increases lean muscle mass and boosts metabolism, which helps your body burn more calories even when you’re at rest. Other great strength-training exercises include biceps curls, dead lifts and dumbbell rows. All of these exercises can be done at home with minimal equipment and are easy to do.


Belly fat isn’t just an unsightly excess; it raises your risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and heart attacks. Visceral fat in the abdomen is actually similar to an organ, because it releases compounds into the bloodstream and alters hormone levels. In addition, it increases inflammation in the body and promotes an immune response that can lead to infections and illness.

The good news is that belly fat can be lost through a combination of diet and exercise. Aim to eat a healthy, balanced diet and create a calorie deficit through physical activity. This can be done by eating fewer processed foods, cooking more meals at home, getting enough sleep and doing HIIT workouts several times per week.

Regardless of how you lose weight, research suggests that shrinking belly fat will improve your arteries’ functioning. Aim for a diet high in fiber, which has been shown to reduce visceral fat and other types of fat.


Sleep is essential for maintaining a healthy metabolism, and getting enough shut-eye is crucial to losing belly fat. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation reduces your ability to lose weight, and it may increase your risk of abdominal obesity.

Poor sleep habits cause hormone imbalances that can wreak havoc with your body’s fat-burning process. Insufficient slumber triggers the production of hunger-inducing hormones, such as ghrelin and leptin, and it increases appetite-stimulating hormones, such as orexins. This disrupts the balance of these hormones, causing you to eat more than you need and store excess calories as fat.

Lack of sleep also disrupts insulin, a hormone that regulates energy storage and use. This can lead to a “muffin top” appearance as well as increase your risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Stress Management

Stress belly is the accumulation of extra fat around your stomach caused by chronically elevated levels of cortisol. While a little bit of stress can help your body perceive danger or focus, long-term high levels of cortisol disrupt most bodily functions and cause the body to store excess weight in your midsection.

Acute stress causes your brain’s amygdala and hippocampus to signal the hypothalamus to secrete cortisol, which slows your metabolism, suppresses appetite, and promotes fat storage. In addition, cortisol also increases blood sugar and insulin levels, which can lead to bloating and abdominal pain.

Aim to incorporate relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and exercise into your daily routine to keep your hormones balanced. Also, instead of HIIT workouts that increase your hunger, try low-impact exercises like yoga or walking (try TikTok’s 12-3-30 walking workouts). Aim for a well-rounded wellness routine to help prevent and manage stress.