Updated: Oct 13, 2020
This is probably one of the most Googled questions of all time.
It’s understandable since all we see, when it comes to fitness, is chiseled 6 pack abs or toned flat stomachs.
This article will tell you everything you need to know to get to that holy grail, that is, the 6 pack abs.
So today is the day you decide, “I’m gonna lose this belly. I’m tired of seeing this spare tire and I want to do something about it!”
So how do we lose that fat?
Simply put, you need to eat less calories than your body burns.
Your body is like a bank. If you keep putting money in the bank, your account will be loaded with cash. Same goes for the body. When you keep putting a lot of food in your mouth, your body will grow.
This also works in reverse. If you don’t keep putting enough money in the bank to cover basic costs, you will have to dip into savings. The same applies when you eat less calories than your body burns. Your fat stores are like your savings.
“So that will all come straight from my stomach?”
Unfortunately that’s not the case.
When we lose weight, our bodies decide where and when the fat comes off. Genetics are responsible for why people hold weight in different spots. They also decide where and when fat first comes off.
More times than not, the stomach is one of those places that almost everyone holds it. And it is usually the last to go.
It is like a high security bank that is almost impossible to steal from.
Cue the Mission Impossible theme song. Dun dun…. Dun dun dun dun.
The key to cracking the code when it comes to losing body fat is a CALORIC DEFICIT.
This is what we talked about before with eating less than you burn. When you do this consistently your body will burn more fat than it is producing.
Maintaining a caloric deficit over time will burn fat all over your body.
Now, once you are in this fat burning zone, it turns into a waiting game.
You just have to ride the wave and be consistent while you watch your body change. And over time it will pull from that belly fat you so desperately want to get rid of.
“How do I get in this caloric deficit?”
First step is figuring out how many calories you burn on a normal day. This is what’s called TDEE (total daily energy expenditure). This formula takes into account the amount of calories you burn just by being alive and your body functioning (also known as your BMR or basal metabolic rate), along with your daily activity.
Just google “TDEE calculator” and the first couple should be a great help.
Once you get the TDEE number, this will probably be around your maintenance level. This amount of calories should keep you at exactly the same weight you are at.
The next step is to then subtract 500 calories from it. That is what your calories for fat burning should be to lose roughly 1 pound a week.
1 pound of fat is about 3500 calories. (3,500 cals divided by 7 days = 500 cals a day)
“Only 1 pound a week???”
1 pound a week is incredible progress. However, if you are a bigger person you can lose more weight weekly. (1% of your bodyweight a week is usually a good rate of loss).
The reason we want to lose only 1-2 pounds a week is because that will make it more sustainable in the long run. It will also help you not feel like a complete zombie while trying to lose weight.
Now that you are set up for success, there is just one more thing. This will help with not just losing the weight, but also keeping it off.
This game changer is to make it as easy as possible for yourself by staying full.
Willpower is finite. It can, and will run out.
If you are struggling to stick with the diet because you are too hungry, the plan will fail.
“So how do I stay full?”
There are 6 things that will help you stay full.
It is ideal to be eating at least 80% of your bodyweight in grams of protein (200 lb person eats 160 grams of protein). Protein takes a ton of energy to break down and takes a while to digest which will leave you feeling pretty full.
Now I know some people will be reading this thinking “Holy crap that’s a lot of protein.” You’re not wrong. For most people this is a lot more than what they already eat. So instead of getting that much, just focus on getting more than you currently do. Add in a couple extra egg whites at breakfast. At dinner order the 10 ounce sirloin instead of the 6 ounce.
We all know you should be eating your vegetables. When your goal is fat loss, there is even more incentive to eat them.
Veggies are king of keeping you full.
They are usually incredibly low in calories so you can eat a ton of them. This increase in volume of food will mentally make you much more full because you are seeing a huge full plate of food. On top of that, this increased volume of food will fill your stomach up which will make you mentally and physically full.
Fat is another essential part of our diets. They should account for roughly 30% of the calories we consume. They are great for keeping our hormones in check, but can also be helpful in slowing down digestion.
Fat is extremely dense, which is why it takes a while for it to break down in our bodies. This slowed rate of digestion helps keep us full while the food is still being broken down. When it comes to which kinds of fats to eat, you can’t go wrong with olive oil, grass fed butter (check with the doc on that one if you have cholesterol issues), nuts, and fat that comes with fish and other lean protein.
Fiber is an amazing nutrient. It’s helps you to lower cholesterol, control blood sugar, pinch a loaf, and drumroll…….. Lose weight!
Fiber can keep you full for a longg time. That’s why the veggies and fruit help so much; they are LOADED with fiber. Whole grains, beans, nuts, also contain a bunch of fiber. In combination with other foods, these that are listed can really curve those cravings and keep you full.
For some reason sleep is always left out of the conversation. It should be one of the first things you think about when it comes to losing weight.
When you sleep well, there are tons of benefits around losing weight. For one, your hunger signals are regulated better. There have actually been studies that show the less sleep you get, the more likely you are to make poor food choices the following day.
Another factor that is affected is the quality of your workouts. If you can only do half-assed workouts day after day because of lack of sleep, you are missing out on work in the gym that can be burning calories and getting you closer to your goal.
The majority of people should aim for 7-9 hours. Some people will need more, some will need less. If you don’t wake up rejuvenated and ready to seize the day then you need more.
Last but definitely not least, H2O.
Sometimes dehydration can be masked as hunger. So you may feel like you are starving when all you need is to get a bottle or 2 of water in your body. This is why a good habit would be to drink a glass of water before every meal. That way you actually know if you are truly hungry, or maybe just a little dehydrated.
The amount most people should aim for is half their bodyweight in ounces of water. So if you weigh 200 pounds, you would aim for 100 ounces of water. That is about 5-6 normal size bottles of water. Not too bad, right?
When all of the numbers are accounted for and the healthy habits are in place there is no reason you shouldn’t reach your goal.
Just trust in the process, have some patience, and you will see those results!