I wanted to take some time and do a post on how to lose lower belly fat because it seems to be a very popular search people do, but there are many posts out there that are not giving totally honest information.
I have done a post in the past, Belly Fat: How To Get Rid Of It. Because this is a similar topic, it will have some of the same information.
But I felt this deserved its own post because there are so many people that just want to know how to lose lower belly fat.
Honesty About Lower Belly Fat
This might come as a surprise to you but there is really no way to target just lower belly fat.
I know that is not what you want to hear. It is not what I wanted to hear when I did research on this over a year ago.
Now, I was new to blogging back then and did not realize that the posts I was looking at were not entirely truthful with people. I saw a lot of posts that only gave you exercised and told you, “do these and you will get a flat stomach”.
They never really when into explaining lower belly fat and the fact that you need to burn far overall in order to shrink your lower belly fat.
I came back to this topic because I have been trying to get rid of the little bit of lower belly fat I have. So, I decide to look up how to lose lower belly fat to see if anything new would pop up.
It was all more of the same, which I didn’t like because I feel they are setting people up for disappointment by telling you that doing crunches is going to get you the stomach you want.
I was to set you up for success, so I am going to tell you that you will need to do more than that to really see some great lasting results.
First, I want you to understand what the leading causes of belly fat are so you can better combat it.
Factors That Cause Lower Belly Fat
Fat stores differently on everyone but one of the most common places for most people is the lower belly. Some factors that play into fat storing on your lower belly are genetics, lifestyle, diet, and inflammation.
Let’s break that down really quick.
Genetics means it runs in your genes. You are predisposed to having lower belly fat and the fact that it collects there is nothing you can control.
Lifestyle refers to how you live your life. You might have a sedentary job and do not get much movement or exercise.
Diet is all about what you eat. You are more likely to have lower belly fat if you are eating a lot of processed and sugary foods.
Finally, inflammation in your abdomen has been found to be linked to fat cells forming in this area.
The good news is all of these can be fixed, in a sense. And we will get into that shortly.
It is important to understand these factors, so you can look at your own situation to see what factors might be affecting you. And know what factors affect you will put you in a better position to improve.
How To Lose Lower Belly Fat
Now onto the question you have been dying to get the answer to. How to lose lower belly fat. There are several things you can do to shrink your stomach.
Just remember, what you put into this is what you will get out.
By that I mean you will have to put some effort into it. There is no magic solution that is going to do it for you.
Create A Calorie Deficit
This is actually a very simple concept and a very effective way to lose weight.
A calorie deficit is what you consume less calories than the amount it would take you to maintain your body weight.
Less calories= weight loss.
To create a calorie deficit, you just need to make sure you are burning more calories than you are taking in each day.
According to the Mayo Clinic burning 3,500 calories more than you consume is equal to 1 pound of fat.
That seems like a lot but don’t panic.
You will not be reducing 3,500 calories in a day. This should be done for a week. That means your calorie deficit is only 500 calories a day.
So, you would take in 500 less calories each day and you would lose a pound a week.
If you still think that is a lot, consider what typical foods you eat. I’m sure there are some unhealthy choices you can cut out, like soda or lattes, to get your 500-calorie deficit.
How to Track This
Like most, I am a busy person and like to make things as easy as possible. There are easier ways to calculate and track your calorie deficit rather than writing everything out.
I absolutely LOVE Fitbit for this reason. I think they make it super easy for you. If you do not have a Fitbit, I highly suggest getting one and it doesn’t have to be the latest model.
Below is the one I currently have and the one I have my eye on if my current one ever dies. In case you need some options.
If you go to the Fitbit app and to your account, there is a section for goals. Under that they have Nutrition & Body. Here you can click on food and it will ask if you want help setting a goal or if you want to set your own goal for calories.
Then when you put your food into the app (which is also super easy and saves time), it tells you how many calories you have left for the day, already calculating in your deficit.
You can get a scale to weigh your food and track it on your smartphone. I have not tried this scale, so I do not know if you can put a calorie deficit into the app. But you just need to know how many calories you should have in a day and you are good.
Whatever works best for you and will help you stick with it, is the approach you should take.
Watch Your Diet To Lose Lower Belly Fat
If you are really trying to get to how to lose lower belly fat, this is going to be something you certainly want to consider.
The word diet is seen as a negative word. Like you have to starve or deprive yourself.
That simply isn’t true. You just need to be conscious of your food choices. And keep in mind that you can have very flavorful, satisfying food that is healthy.
I am a firm believer of everything in moderation. You can still enjoy the things you love, as long as you pay attention.
Start off small by trying to eat smaller portion sizes and don’t go for seconds.
Some many of us pile on much larger portions than we should.
So, eat mindfully and try eating slower so your body can tell your brain you have had enough, before you go for that second plate.
Also, add more fruits and vegetables to your meals.
Broccoli, cauliflower, and kale are all high in fiber and contain a lot of nutrients that will help keep you feeling fuller for longer.
And fruits can give you that sweet fix you are craving, while still keeping it healthy.
Watching what you eat can be a game changer for many people. I know it has helped my husband and I a lot. My husband has some extra weight around his midsection that he has been trying to get rid of for years. He has tried different diets and supplements, all of which showed very little results and were hard to stick with.
We started adding more vegetables to our meals and watched our portion sizes. This small change has made a huge difference! My husband is down about 15 pounds (with a slight calorie deficit some days). I am down some as well and I have to say my body feels a lot better from feeding it better.
Don’t Drink Your Calories
This really goes hand in hand with diet, but it really needs to be reinforced, so it gets its own section.
Many people fall into the trap of drinking their calories.
If you want to know a great way of how to lose lower belly fat, it is to stop doing this.
Soda and fancy coffee drinks contain a lot of calories and sugar. All of which can collect around your midsection.
Alcoholic drinks also have this effect.
Instead, stick to water, black coffee, and unsweetened tea.
This alone can show some great results, especially if you are someone that drinks multiple high calorie drinks in a day.
And as an added bonus, it is cheaper to cut them out.
I love water and have no problem drinking just that all day, but all of the people I work with don’t like just regular water.
If this sounds like you, here is a tip.
A lot of them use the Crystal Light or Country Time drink mix that is sugar free and very low calories.
Decrease Carbs To Lose Lower Belly Fat
This can be a challenge for many people. It certainly is for me!
I want to start by saying you do not have to cut carbs to lose lower belly fat. But, if you want to see faster results, this can help.
Even cutting your carbs a little bit can be beneficial.
I recommend keeping this in mind when choosing foods. So, keep a food journal or check your Fitbit app to see if you should be cutting back and how much.
This is certainly a struggle for me, but I have to say, when I see how many carbs I am taking in on my app, it does make me more aware. Being aware helps me to make better choices.
There is a very important point about carbs that you should keep in mind.
Not all carbs are created equal. There are some carbs that are very beneficial to your body.
Yes, you should cut down/out white bread, pasta, and refined flour.
But there are many carbs that are nutrient-rich and high fiber, which will keep you fuller longer.
These carbs include oatmeal, beans, quinoa, vegetables, whole-grain pasta, brown rice, fruits, chickpeas, whole-grain bread, and even popcorn.
So, consider switching some of your carbs out for a healthier carb. You can still enjoy your carbohydrates without as much guilt.
This is such an easy how to lose lower belly fat tip, but it is so often overlooked.
Protein is great for your both your muscles and you diet. So, if you are looking to add some exercise to your routine, protein is a must!
You should shoot for having 1 gram of protein for every pound of body weight.
That might seem like a lot but keep in mind that 1 cup of chopped chicken contains 43g of protein.
So, it really isn’t too hard to up your protein intake.
Lean protein includes foods like red meat (steak), poultry, eggs, yogurt, fish, shrimp, beans, nuts, and seeds.
Eating more of these foods can help you feel fuller longer, helping to reduce your calorie intake without starving yourself.
It can also give your metabolism a little boost.
Sleep To Lose Lower Belly Fat
I bet there are some of you that did not expect to see this in a post on how to lose lower belly fat.
But sleep is so vital to your health!
I know you have heard that you should get between 7-8 hours of sleep each night, but that is all you hear.
They don’t explain the impact not getting enough sleep has on your body.
Sleep has a huge impact on your health and how it stores fat. When you aren’t getting enough sleep, your body stores fat to burn as energy later on.
But it keeps doing that and not burning off as much as it stores. That means you are just gaining fat.
Lack of sleep can also increase your stress, which we will talk about next.
To get a better night’s rest, wind down early. Turn your phone off and keep your room dark.
And make sure you are setting aside 7-8 hours to actually sleep.
You will be amazed at how great you feel from just getting enough sleep each night. Plus, being well rested gives you more energy so maybe you can throw some exercise into your routine as well 😉
Everyone has stress but it is all about how you manage it that matters.
Unmanaged stress actually causes you to gain weight and store more fat.
When you are stressed out, your body releases a hormone called cortisol, which is your hunger hormone. It makes you feel hungry.
So, when people say they stress eat, it isn’t just a saying. That hormone actually makes you feel like you need to eat.
Chronic stress can lead to overeating becoming a habit.
This is on top of the fact that stress also negatively affects your mood and can cause health problems, such as high blood pressure and heart disease.
So, there is plenty of incentive to reduce your stress levels.
If you need some tips on how to reduce your stress, check out 20 of the Best Ways to Reduce Your Stress.
Exercise To Lose Lower Belly Fat
This is the last tip on how to lose lower belly fat, and usually people’s least favorite. Some people just don’t like working out and others feel like they never have enough time to work out.
As I said before, if you want results, you are going to have to work for it.
That being said, you can see results without adding exercise to your routine, but that doesn’t mean you should count it out because it takes more effort on your part.
This is going to help you burn more calories. Plus, it can tone your muscles so you will love your stomach even more once you lose your lower belly fat.
Exercise is also vital for your overall well-being.
I recently took a free course offered by Yale University online and it was a huge game changer for me. It was called The Science of Well-Being taught by Professor Laurie Santos.
There are a lot of different concepts in the course, like gratitude, savoring, sleep, and of course exercise, to name a few. But here we are focusing on exercise.
So, in the course you learn about exercise and studies that have been done. As you are learning this you also have to spend the week exercising 30 minutes each day.
One of the studies I found to be awesome was one that showed exercising for 30 minutes just 3 times a week decreased depression and even eliminated it in participants more than what medication did.
I tell you this to show you that exercise can impact more than just your weight.
But also, because it can empower you and make you feel like you can make some of these changes.
When you feel depressed or discouraged, you just aren’t going to put the effort in.
And as an added bonus, I want to share with your a list of some great ab exercises that can help you burn calories and tone your abs.
Elbow to Knee Crunches
Jackknife Sit Ups
Leg Pull Ins
Planks to learn more about planks, check this post!
I want to throw in one other exercise in case you really want to burn those calories. It is called a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout.
Because you are moving quickly and switching between exercises with a short break between, you burn a lot of calories in less time.
Check out my Beginners HIIT Workout and give it a shot!
How To Lose Lower Belly Fat
You cannot specifically target lower belly fat to burn. You need to lose weight overall.
There are several ways you can do that.
Whether it be creating a calorie deficit to take in less calories each day, or simply watching what you eat and not drinking your calories.
You could also decrease your carbohydrates you eat and increase your protein.
Making sure you get enough sleep and decreasing your stress can also help you see changes.
Finally, you could add exercise to your routine to help burn fat.
Start with one or two of these and add more from there.
Keep in mind that healthy choices become habits over time. And once they are habits, they become easier to stick with!
Check out this post to learn more on How To Build Healthy Habits.