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How to Lose Belly Fat for Women: What Really Works?

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By: Erin Coleman, B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.,

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

how to lose belly fat for women

If you’ve looked up “how to lose belly fat for women,” you've likely found a lot of different information (and misinformation). How can you know what REALLY works?

Believe it or not, but the answer might be easier than you think!

Following a few simple tips and tricks will help you eliminate excess fat in all areas of your body, especially your midsection.

Just to be clear — it’s unlikely you’ll shed fat in your waistline only.

Spot fat reduction is a myth.

When burning belly fat is your goal, expect to get rid of excess fat throughout your entire body.

However, if you tend to carry more body fat in your midsection or are “apple-shaped,” you might experience more tummy fat loss than someone who is “pear-shaped.”

But no matter who you are — or what shape you are — you can lose the fat!

Just take it a step at a time.

Ready to tone that tummy? Try these great core workouts for women!

How to Lose Belly Fat for Women: Diet Tips and Tricks

Shedding belly fat involves various methods that when combined, get you real results as quickly as possible.

Aim to lose about 1-2 pounds of body fat weekly by burning about 500 to 1,000 more calories than you eat most days of the week.

To get started:

Drink Water in the Morning

When you wake up, you’re probably dehydrated after a long night’s rest.

Drink water first thing in the morning to energize you and help you eat fewer calories at breakfast.

Studies show that drinking water before meals is associated with eating less.

One reason for this is because water takes up space in your stomach, which boosts satiety without the extra calories.

To burn belly fat fast, drink 2-4 cups of water when you wake up each morning, 2 cups of water before meals, and at least 12 cups of water daily for women.

Drink Coffee or Green Tea

Another belly fat loss strategy for women is to drink green tea or coffee regularly.

Research shows drinking at least 3 cups of coffee or tea daily is associated with lower body mass indexes (BMIs) and smaller waist circumferences compared with non-coffee and tea drinkers.

Drinking caffeinated beverages like coffee and tea increases daily energy expenditure, and gives you a boost of energy for fat-burning workouts.

Find out what the 6 healthy drinks to buy at the store are and incorporate some healthy nutrition ideas into your life!

Eat Non-Starchy Vegetables

Focus on eating non-starchy vegetables to burn belly fat fast.

Doing so fills you up with fewer calories and adds satiating fiber to your meal plan.

Aim to fill about half of each plate with non-starchy vegetables such as cucumbers, leafy greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, mushrooms, bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, and asparagus.

Increase Fiber

In addition to increasing non-starchy vegetables, choose other fiber-rich foods so you can achieve the slim, trim waistline your desire.

Fill about 1/4th of each plate with fiber-rich carbohydrates like corn, peas, beans, quinoa, brown rice, wild rice, whole-grain pasta, oatmeal, or fruit.

Nuts and seeds are also an excellent source of dietary fiber.

Aim to eat at least 25 grams of fiber daily for women.

Consume Dairy Foods or Plant Milk

Dairy foods and plant milks are loaded with satiating protein and calcium.

These foods fill you up without the extra calories, strengthen your bones, and help you maintain lean muscle mass when dropping body fat is your goal.

Aim to eat the following foods at least 2-3 times daily to maximize fat-loss results: low-fat cottage cheese, non-fat Greek yogurt, plain kefir, low-fat milk, reduced-fat cheese, plant milk, and homemade protein powder shakes.

Boost Protein

In addition to eating protein-rich dairy foods or plant milks, aim to eat a variety of other protein foods to boost satiety and maintain lean muscle mass.

Fill about 1/4th of each plate with eggs, grilled chicken, turkey, fish, seafood, tofu, or seitan to enhance belly fat loss.

How much protein do we need per day? Watch this video to calculate your daily protein intake!

Focus on Healthy Fats

Eating healthy dietary fat helps you burn fat with fat.

Putting your body into a state of ketosis by reducing overall calories and carbs means you’ll begin burning body fat as fuel.

Add nuts, seeds, nut butters, plant oils, fish oil, olives, and avocados to fat-loss meal plans.

Eliminate Refined Carbs

Reduce your overall carb intake, especially from refined carbohydrates, to get rid of belly bloat and visceral fat.

That means eliminating the following foods to tighten and tone your waistline: white rice, white bread, white bagels, regular pasta, sugary cereal, other sweets, baked goods, and sugary drinks like sweet tea, lemonade, fruit juice, and soda.

Say No to Fried Foods

Fried foods can pack on unwanted calories, making belly fat loss much more difficult.

Foods to avoid when fat burning is your goal include fried chicken, fried fish, fried shrimp, chicken fried steak, French fries, mozzarella sticks, and doughnuts just to name a few.

Reduce Red Meat

Red meat is okay in moderation but if you do eat it choose organic, grass-fed, very lean cuts with little to no fat marbling.

Eating more than 18 ounces of red meat weekly increases your risk of colorectal cancer.

Research shows that going vegetarian is associated with lower body weight, body mass index (BMI), and waist circumference in adult men and women.

So minimize red meat consumption as much as possible.

Eliminate Processed Meat

Processed meat adds unnecessary calories, sodium, and additives to menus and can hinder weight and fat loss.

Furthermore, eating any amount of processed meat regularly is linked with stomach and colorectal cancers.

Steer clear of hot dogs, salami, pepperoni, ham, cured bacon, and cold cut meats when fat loss and better health are your goals.

Avoid Alcohol

Giving up alcohol is one of the best ways to lose belly fat for women.

Alcohol is associated with six types of cancer and contains 7 calories per gram.

Mixing alcohol with sugary drinks further increases empty calorie intake.

You might be consuming more calories than you think from alcohol, as some alcoholic beverages provide more than 500 calories in just one drink!

Stay on top of your nutrition on the weekend by using these 5 weekend diet tips!

Try Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting helps you eat fewer calories throughout the day to shed excess belly fat fast.

There are numerous ways to accomplish intermittent fasting or intermittent calorie restriction for fat loss.

For example:

  • Eat only during an 8-hour window each day (from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, for example)

OR

  • Reduce your energy intake to 800 calories every other day

If intermittent fasting isn't for you, it's OK! Research shows that continuous energy restriction works just as well.

For women, this means eating about 1,200-1,500 calories daily or reducing your current intake by 500-1,000 calories per day.

Consider Protein Shake Meal Replacements

If you struggle with calorie reduction or you’re always on the go, consider protein shakes as meal replacements to shed tummy fat fast.

Simply replace breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks with 250- to 300-calorie protein shakes.

To make satiating homemade protein drinks, mix together:

  • 1 1/2 cups of fat-free milk or plant milk (120 calories)
  • 1/4 cup of protein powder (85 calories)
  • 1/2 of a medium banana (53 calories)
  • 1 teaspoon of peanut butter (32 calories)

Total calories: 290 calories

Eat 200- to 350-Calorie Meals and Snacks

For women, meals and snacks should contain about 200-350 calories.

Try the following meal/snack combinations to burn belly fat for women:

  • Three 300-calorie meals PLUS two 200-calorie snacks
  • Five 250- to 300-calorie meals
  • Six 200- to 250-calorie meals
  • Four 300- to 350-calorie meals

Your daily total should equal 1,200-1,500 calories for fat loss, or up to 1,800 calories if you're very active.

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Fat-Burning Exercise Tips and Tricks (That Actually Work)

Exercise is just as important as a healthy diet to achieve six-pack abs and a slim midsection.

Try the following exercise tips and tricks to get fast results.

Do Ab Exercises Daily

Doing ab exercises regularly keeps your waistline tight and toned.

Aim to complete the following ab exercises most days of the week, and switch up ab routines often to maximize fat-burning results:

  • Ab wheel rollouts
  • Regular plank holds
  • Shoulder touch planks
  • Side plank holds
  • Plank jacks
  • Lying leg raises
  • Traditional sit-ups
  • Traditional crunches
  • Russian twists
  • Bicycle crunches
  • Hanging leg raises

Complete all or some of the ab exercises above (60 seconds each) for at least 10 minutes daily.

Trying to get stronger abs and a flatter stomach? Start with this core circuit for women, an easy beginner ab workout!

Strength Train

Strength training is one of the best ways to shed belly fat and other stored body fat quickly.

Aim to strength train most days of the week and work all major muscle groups at least two times weekly.

You might work your lower body two days and your upper body two days each week, or complete full-body resistance workouts every other day.

Examples of strength-training exercises to try include:

  • Goblet squats
  • Kettlebell lunges
  • Dumbbell deadlifts
  • Medicine ball squat to overhead throw
  • Squat to overhead press
  • Calf raises
  • Pushups
  • Biceps curls
  • Bench and incline press
  • Front and lateral raises
  • Rear deltoid flys
  • Triceps kickbacks and extensions
  • Triceps dips
  • Kettlebell swings
  • Renegade rows

Aim to complete 2-5 sets of 10-25 reps for each exercise you do.

If you’re circuit training, complete a strength-training set for about 30-60 seconds before switching exercises.

Should women lift weights? Discover all of the benefits of weight lifting for women!

Circuit Train

Circuit training is an excellent fat-burning activity for women if you choose the right workouts.

Combine the strength-training exercises above with the following fat-blasting exercises:

  • Rope jumping
  • Burpees
  • High knees with opposite elbow-to-knee touches
  • Jogging in place
  • Rowing
  • Box jumps
  • Alternating box toe touches
  • Squat jumps
  • Front to back jumps
  • Side to side jumps
  • Mountain climbers
  • Alternating jumping lunges
  • Jumping jacks

To maximize fat-burning results, spend about 30-60 seconds on each exercise and immediately jump to the next one.

This full-body, at-home workout with no equipment will keep you in shape!

Consider Continuous Cardio

Choose 1-2 days each week to complete continuous cardiovascular exercise to shed belly fat fast.

Once your body burns stored carbohydrates as fuel, it begins the fat-burning process.

On continuous cardiovascular workout days, choose your favorite aerobic exercises such as:

  • Stair climbing
  • Elliptical machine workouts
  • Running
  • Jogging
  • Power walking
  • Walking uphill
  • Rowing
  • Cycling
  • Swimming

Work out at a moderate intensity for at least 45 minutes to maximize fat-burning results.

Learn about the best types of cardio for fat loss and the science behind cardio for WOMEN!

Try High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Try high-intensity interval training (HIIT) when you’re tight on time to achieve the same fat-burning results as continuous cardio exercise but in less time.

To complete HIIT, try the following:

  • 3-minute warm-up
  • 1 minute of high-intensity cardio
  • 1 minute of low-intensity cardio
  • Alternate high and low intensities for 20 minutes
  • 3-minute cooldown

Aim to do HIIT workouts 1-2 times weekly.

This 15-minute HIIT workout for women can be done at home with no equipment!

How to Lose Belly Fat for Women: Lifestyle Tips

If you’re wondering how to lose belly fat for women, diet and exercise are key components.

But additional healthy habits make belly fat loss easier so you can get and keep it off long-term.

Examples include:

Weigh and Measure Yourself Regularly

Daily weigh-ins keep you accountable and can improve fat loss, according to numerous studies.

Weigh yourself first thing in the morning and record the results to track progress over time.

Measure your waist circumference weekly to track belly fat loss.

A waist circumference of 35 inches or less in women reduces chronic disease risks.

Get Enough Sleep

To keep your appetite in check, make sure to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night.

Doing so helps prevent weight gain associated with sleep deprivation and gives you the energy needed to complete fat-burning workouts.

Learn how to improve your sleeping habits, helping you to wake up feeling well-rested in the morning.

Reduce Stress

Like sleep deprivation, chronic stress can lead to appetite hormone changes that cause weight gain over time.

Do what you can to minimize stress whenever possible.

Avoid overbooking your schedule and try massage, yoga, walking outdoors, meditation, or tai chi to help de-stress.

Minimize Time Spent Sitting

Sitting down too much is a risk factor for obesity and other chronic diseases, so keep your time spent sitting to a minimum.

Stay active throughout the day by taking regular walk breaks, doing house chores, completing yard work, playing with your kids, and using a standing desk instead of a sitting desk in addition to regular workouts.

Is sitting the new smoking? Learn about the negative effects of sitting and how to reverse them!

Get Hormone and Vitamin Levels Checked

If you’re unable to shed excess belly fat despite dieting and regular exercise, a hormone imbalance, nutrient deficiency, or another medical condition might be to blame.

Have your doctor check estrogen, thyroid, other hormones, vitamin, and mineral levels and treat imbalances.

Join a Weight Loss Program

Staying accountable for diet, exercise, and other healthy lifestyle habits is crucial for fat-burning success.

The Fit Mother 30X (FM30X) is a weight and fat loss program designed for busy moms of all ages.

It provides you with tools needed for short- and long-term fat-burning success, such as:

  • Meal plans and menus
  • Fat-burning workouts
  • Q & A sessions with health experts
  • Email coaching support
  • Private fit mom Facebook access
  • Weekly newsletters and more

When you’re ready for six-pack abs and the lean physique you desire, sign up for FM30X or try the FREE Fit Mom 3-Day Weight Loss Jumpstart!

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Erin Coleman

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian with over 15 years of freelance writing experience.

She graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in nutritional science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and completed her dietetic internship at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Prior to beginning her career in medical content writing, Erin worked as Health Educator for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Internal Medicine.

Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s currently working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife, and a Mom to two beautiful children.

If you’re a busy mom who wants to finally lose weight, get healthy, and actually keep the pounds off for good, this is the simple program you’ll love sticking to…

Our Fit Mother 30X Program (FM30X) is the answer you’ve been looking for. Inside FM30X, you’ll receive:

  • The simple & delicious Fit Mother Meal Plan with easy recipes for you and your family.
  • The metabolism-boosting Fit Mother 30X Workout (under 90 min/week) to kickstart your metabolism for fast fat burning.
  • VIP email coaching where we’ll personally walk you through the program.
Learn More About FM30X

If you’re a busy mom who wants to finally lose weight, get healthy, and actually keep the pounds off for good, this is the simple program you’ll love sticking to…

Our Fit Mother 30X Program (FM30X) is the answer you’ve been looking for. Inside FM30X, you’ll receive:

  • The simple & delicious Fit Mother Meal Plan with easy recipes for you and your family.
  • The metabolism-boosting Fit Mother 30X Workout (under 90 min/week) to kickstart your metabolism for fast fat burning.
  • VIP email coaching where we’ll personally walk you through the program.
Learn More About FM30X

*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on how to lose belly fat for women.

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