Most of us are probably tired of being constantly bombarded with advertisements for fad diets to try. These quick and fad diets are tempting because they seem easy, but they are not sustainable and are often very unhealthy. If losing visceral fat is your specific goal, fad diets won’t work as well as gradually changing your daily eating habits.
To learn more about losing belly fat, we spoke with two expert dietitians to get their tips on some of the habit changes that actually work for healthy, long-term sustainable weight loss. Here’s what they had to say, and for more healthy weight loss tips, check out 30 Essential Spring Superfoods for Weight Loss.
There’s value in the specific foods you choose to eat on your weight loss journey, but sometimes it’s also about making sure you balance the types of foods you eat as well.
“Many people carry extra weight around their midsection because they eat too many calories, which can lead to fat storage,” explains Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD author of The Sports Nutrition Handbook and a member of our Medical Expert Council. “To help keep your body well nourished and manage your calorie intake at meals, follow The plate rule. Build 1/4 of your plate a fiber-rich carbohydrate such as brown rice, whole grain bread or quinoa, prepare 1/4 of your plate a lean protein such as beef, fish or chicken, then fill half your plate with colorful vegetables. Vegetables provide water and fiber to help you feel full faster with very few calories. Then wait 15 minutes before deciding if you need more food, and if so, pick up more vegetables.”
Eating a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of fiber is important for losing visceral fat.
“Fiber helps slow digestion, which means it helps you feel full faster and stay full longer,” Goodson says. “Eating fiber-rich foods like whole grains, fruits with edible skins, or even nuts and seeds with meals and snacks can help you eat less, which ultimately leads to weight loss around your midsection. Some ideas include oatmeal with seeds and berries in the morning, adding nuts to a snack, and choosing a whole grain to fill a quarter of your plate at lunch and dinner.”
Protein is another very important nutrient that you need to make sure you get enough of during your weight loss journey.
“Protein slows digestion and helps you feel full faster and stay full longer, just like fiber. It also helps stabilize blood sugar and energy levels,” Goodson says. “Eating enough protein at all meals and snacks can help you stay fuller throughout the day, which ultimately helps you eat less and lower your calorie intake. Regularly consuming a calorie deficit can help you lose weight. weight and, ideally, to reduce visceral fat.”
“I ask my clients to follow a personalized macro plan, and to be really simple, I advise them to match protein in grams to their current weight (pounds),” says Courtney D’Angelo, MS, RD, author at go wellness. “Finding protein-rich foods is key to hitting your daily protein goals, and protein powder is also something we can add in there.”
People often assume that losing visceral fat means you have to give up carbs, but that’s not true at all. Carbohydrates are necessary to give your body the nutrients and energy it needs, and incorporating healthy carbs into your daily diet can help you reach your health goals.
“If we want to change our body composition and lose visceral fat, or any fat, we have to work with our exercise,” D’Angelo says. “I generally recommend 45 minutes of cardio a day, and to do that you’ll need a decent amount of energy. One of the best ways to get that energy is to eat carbohydrates. Find good carbs like whole grains, vegetables, whole fruits, nuts, or beans and work them into your diet.”
Along with protein and carbs, fat is another key nutrient your body needs to lose weight. However, not all fats are created equal.
“Fat is another specific type of nutrient that your body needs to absorb vitamins, produce energy, and protect your brain and heart health,” D’Angelo says. “But there’s a difference between ‘good’ fats and ‘bad’ fats. ‘Good’ fats help manage your weight, stay mentally focused, fight fatigue and manage your mood, all in one go. vitally important in getting rid of visceral fat. The “good” fats are unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, so find those types of foods and add them to your daily diet as well.”