Tummy fat is a constant struggle to lose, isn’t it? If you’re always wondering how to lose belly fat and looking for tips and advice, you’ve come to the right place.
The Healthy Mummy ran a survey with over 5,000 of our community members and found that belly fat loss was the number one concern for our members. It’s no surprise, as stomach fat is hard to target, yet it’s where the female body tends to accumulate it the most.
It’s no surprise, as stomach fat is hard to target, yet it’s where the female body tends to accumulate it the most.
We’ve built the ultimate guide on how to lose belly fat. In this post, you’ll learn:
- What causes belly fat excess in women
- The benefits of losing belly fat
- Tips to avoid low iron and belly fat
Jump ahead to find out more:
- All about tummy fat
- The two types of tummy fat
- 15 causes of excess belly fat
- Health benefits of reducing belly fat
- 11 hormones and enzymes that impact belly fat
- The best supplements to use to blast belly fat
- Reasons you may NOT be losing belly fat
- Tips to lose belly fat over 40
- How to lose belly fat if you have PCOS, an underactive thyroid or IBS
- 9 foods to eat to lose belly fat
- 36 ways to lose belly fat
- 15 quick tips to help you lose belly fat
- Make this one change to lose belly fat
- Tips on losing belly fat from real mums
All about tummy fat
One problem is that we are all impatient, and we want everything now! But losing weight does take time and effort, and it doesn’t happen overnight.
By eating a high lean protein diet with healthy snacks and with a decent amount of exercise 4-5 times per week, you will be able to reclaim that once tight and toned stomach you once had (or wished for).
And by following a nutritionally balanced eating and exercise plan like on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge, you can bust belly fat FOR GOOD!
People will tell you that you cannot target your stomach via diet and that exercise is the only way to eliminate excess fat.
We believe that we have shown throughout all the weight loss success stories on The Healthy Mummy website that the food you choose relates to tummy weight loss.
The two types of tummy fat
Abdominal fat can be divided into two classifications. Fat buried deep in the abdomen is called visceral fat. The fat located between the abdominal wall and your skin is called subcutaneous fat.
1. Subcutaneous fat
For new mums, subcutaneous fat is the most noticeable type of fat on the stomach. As the name suggests, subcutaneous fat is the sort of fat that lies just under the skin’s surface. Women are most likely to accumulate this sort of fat around their abdomen, hips and buttocks.
Subcutaneous fat is noticeable and can cause dimpling like cellulite.
This fat serves as the body’s energy storage system. If more calories are consumed than the body uses, extra calories are laid down as subcutaneous fat.
When more calories are burned than consumed, subcutaneous fat is the first sort of fat burned off by the body to meet the increased energy demands.
2. Visceral fat (the dangerous one)
The second type of fat in the stomach area is visceral fat, also known as abdominal fat. This sort of fat differs from subcutaneous fat as it is less visible within the body.
Visceral fat forms within the body and around the organs to help protect them. It cannot be seen from the outside and is far more dangerous than subcutaneous fat. Research is continuing into why some people seem to have greater amounts of visceral fat than others. Still, it is believed to have a lot to do with a poor diet.
Visceral fat is of great concern as it literally wraps itself around the major organs in the abdomen, such as the liver, kidneys, heart and lungs, and contributes to the clogging of arteries.
People with high levels of visceral fat are more prone to developing serious health issues such as heart disease. Visceral fat often accumulates around the liver, leading the liver to become resistant to the body’s insulin, which in turn greatly increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Visceral fat is often referred to by the medical profession as a ticking time bomb. Many people are unaware that they have visceral fat, and it cannot be seen accumulating as subcutaneous fat can.
Risk factors for developing visceral fat
Several factors make it more likely that visceral fat will develop. These include:
- Heavy drinking
- Living a non-active lifestyle
- Eating a diet that is high in fat
- High levels of stress
Two ways to measure if you have too much tummy fat
So you have a wobbly, jiggly tummy that you would like to tighten and tone? You are not alone. While The Healthy Mummy’s 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge can help you combat tummy fat with healthy recipes, meal plans and exercises.
It’s probably never occurred to you to ask yourself: ‘how much belly fat is too much fat?‘ and ‘when is my belly fat considered unhealthy?‘.
Again, you are NOT alone.
Healthy Mummy nutritionist Cheree Sheldon highlights how much belly fat is too much belly fat and two ways you can measure your tummy fat.
The problem with tummy fat
Belly fat is a problem on several levels.
Cosmetically not many of us are happy with having an extra layer of belly fat. Still, there’s also the deeper layer of fat, known as visceral fat, which surrounds our organs and can pose a great health risk.
Visceral fat is metabolically active. It releases hormones, inflammatory markers, and fatty acids into our system and leads to higher LDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, high blood glucose and high triglycerides.
Diseases and health issues linked with excess visceral fat include:
- Insulin resistance
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Breathing problems
The TWO ways to measure if you have too much tummy fat
There are two main ways to measure if you have too much belly fat. These include:
- Waist circumference and;
- Waist to hip ratio.
Measure your waist on your bare skin just above your hip bone. Breathe in and out, then take the measurement. Do the same at your waist.
For a woman, if your waist circumference is 80cm or more, and for a man, if you are 94cm or more, this is a marker for health risks.
To work out your waist-to-hip ratio, divides your waist measurement by your hip measurement (e.g. waist is 80cm and hip is 85cm, then 80/85= 0.94), the health risks are greater if your ratio is > 0.85 for women and for Men: > 0.9
One study of 44,000 women found that those with large waists, even if they were at a low BMI, had greater risks of heart disease and cancer
15 causes of excess belly fat in women
While the tools and plans to attack belly fat once and for all may seem relatively straightforward, the causes of excess belly fat are less so for many women.
Healthy Mummy nutritionist Cheree Sheldon identifies 15 different causes of excess belly fat in women.
1. Calories in vs calories out
There are many reasons women may have excess belly fat. The main one is down to the number of calories in and the number burnt off.
Quite simply, if we consume too much food, it is stored as fat. However, most of us know when we attempt to reverse the fat that it might not be as simple as that!
Nonetheless, knowing your BMR is a good place to start in attacking belly fat. Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the number of calories you’d burn if you stayed in bed all day.
2. Food choices
Food choices are a major impact on the accumulation of belly fat. Sugar, in particular fructose, has been linked to abdominal obesity, especially when people drink soft drinks.
If you eat lots of processed food, you’ll be more likely to have a larger tummy. An increased appetite can lead to overeating, which can lead to fat gain around the stomach.
Whether this is due to an excess of kilojoules consumed or because the fructose slows down metabolism and fat burning doesn’t really matter. The bottom line is too much sugar is stored as fat!
When following a healthy eating plan such as the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge, you can be confident that what you are eating is helping you reduce your waistline instead of adding to it.
The 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge has a weekly meal plan consisting of 3 snacks and 3 main meals a day. These recipes and meals are designed to help you lose weight safely and sustainably. Learn more about the Challenge here.
3. Alcohol intake
Alcohol intake has a function in belly fat. After all, a beer belly didn’t get its name for anything!
The excess calories from alcohol consumption are stored as fat, and like sugar, alcohol slows down fat burning and metabolism. Daily intake of three or more drinks or binge drinking of four or more drinks regularly had the biggest risks.
4. Consuming ‘bad’ fats
Consuming fats. Have you heard the saying fat makes you fat?
It’s sort of true, depending on the types of fats, as they are not created equal. The worst offender that everyone should avoid at all costs is TRANS FATS.
These are fats that have been messed with by adding hydrogen to them. It makes them more stable, so the junk food it is added to can stay on a shelf longer, but it also creates lots of inflammation in our bodies. It is linked to insulin resistance and belly fat.
Exercise and activity play a big part in getting belly fat off. This is why it makes sense that little to no exercise or activity is a big factor in putting it on.
People who watch more than 3 hours of TV per day double their risk of abdominal obesity more than people who watch just one hour.
6. Modern convenience
Modern convenience reduces our need to be active, so it elevates our risk for weight gain.
Have you seen Wall-E? This is our future if we aren’t mindful and reduce our dependency on technology a bit… Take the stairs!
Ageing plays a role. Even if you don’t gain weight on the scales, many women notice an accumulation of belly fat as they age, particularly around menopausal age.
This is due to hormonal shifts, when a decrease in oestrogen impacts our fat distribution, making it belly-focused instead of hips and thighs.
Sleep affects our weight. Those of us who sleep poorly, five hours or less a night, are linked with weight gain.
Sleep-disordered breathing, such as sleep apnoea, is linked with higher amounts of belly fat.
Stress can cause belly fat! The body interprets any stress the same, whether it’s physical stress, such as smoking or perceived stress, such as driving in rush hour.
When we are stressed, we produce cortisol to deal with the stress. Too much stress = too much cortisol. This can cause you to convert more energy into fat and gain more weight around your stomach.
Read here about how stress affects your metabolism and how to BEAT it.
10. Pregnancy and post-pregnancy
During pregnancy, fat is vital in the stomach area as it helps to cushion and protect the baby.
Post-pregnancy our belly changes shape. The uterus drops, and the abdominal muscles shift. It takes a while for the body to regain its muscular strength. With the subcutaneous layer of fat at the forefront until that occurs.
Check out these top tips to consider for getting started with postnatal exercise.
11. Gut bugs
Gut bugs play a part! If the balance of our gut flora is tipped to promote certain bad bacteria, they encourage us to gain weight and stimulate belly fat.
This can be due to bad choices in our diet, feeding bad bacteria causing SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth), resulting in bloating.
The bacteria can send signals to our brains, triggering cravings for carbohydrates and sugars that they want to feed off. Pretty clever, but not too great for our waistline.
Genes can be a major factor in belly fat and obesity.
They do actually have their part to play in how and where we gain weight and fat. Some people gain weight on their arms, while others gain weight around their tummy and others gain weight around the thighs. Each person gains weight and fat differently.
You know when people say, “Oh, it’s in the genes.. Aunty ‘So And So’ was fat… My mum was fat… My sister is, and so I am too”, there are actually genes that are markers for obesity.
A 2011 study found more than 40 known gene variants associated with obesity and fat distribution.
Epigenetic markers do not mean that you HAVE to be overweight. It just elevates your risk and hopefully motivates you more to make better choices to avoid obesity.
13. What happened in the womb
Before we are born, we can be set up for obesity. If your mum smoked during pregnancy or had a really poor diet, you have a higher risk factor.
Babies born with really low birth weights or really high birth weights have a greater chance of being overweight or obese later in life.
Women with PCOS have a higher amount of visceral fat than women who don’t have the disorder.
It’s unclear whether the mechanism of PCOS is from hormones promoting weight gain or weight gain promoting hormone dysfunction.
Oestrogen has a lot to do with fat storage, too. During pregnancy, oestrogen levels reduce, which can cause fat stores to be directed to the stomach area in preparation for breastfeeding. Oestrogen also causes fat to be stored around the hips and thighs, causing a “pear” shape.
As you can see, many many factors can cause excess belly fat in women.
Ultimately they boil down to a few choices, how much you exercise, what your food choices are, and how you manage stress.
You can’t change your genes, you can’t slow down ageing, but you can control all the other factors that influence whether or not you are at greater risk for weight gain and belly fat.
Health benefits of reducing belly fat
There are many benefits to losing body fat around your midsection. From lowering your blood pressure and blood sugar levels, helping to prevent type 2 diabetes and reducing your risk of heart disease.
The fat around your belly is known as visceral fat. It’s located around vital organs such as the liver, stomach and intestines. This abdominal fat is used to protect these organs, but having excess fat storage in this area can increase your risk of a range of health issues:
- Heightened blood pressure
- Increased blood sugar levels
- Increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes
- Lower metabolic rate – this would hurt your ability for overall weight loss
- Increased risk of heart disease
- Impact your cortisol levels
Losing this visceral fat will help prevent these types of health issues and help get you that flat belly. Working towards a weight loss goal that focuses on your waistline will not only help you build your abdominal muscles but prevent longer-term health issues.
After having a baby, one of the main things that we women tend to focus on is losing pregnancy weight from the stomach area.
All those months of stretching to make room for a baby often leave the tummy a lot softer than it was pre-baby, and conditions like ab separation can occur.
There are also hormones at play that can make operation shred fat quite tough.
The fat around your belly is known as visceral fat. It’s located around vital organs such as the liver, stomach and intestines. This type of fat is used to protect these organs, but it can also influence hormones in your body and increase your heart disease and type 2 diabetes risk.
Lowering your waist circumference will help lower your blood sugar and your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. Working towards a weight loss goal that focuses on your waistline will not only help you build your core muscles but prevent longer-term health issues.
How to burn body fat
Challenge yourself during workouts
To burn off fat, you need to challenge your muscles during workouts. If you don’t push yourself hard enough, you won’t shift the fat.
You don’t need to push yourself to the point of exhaustion. But you do need to push yourself hard enough so that you feel slightly sweaty and out of breath during your workout.
Make your workout tough, but not tough enough that you can’t do it, and give yourself enough time to recover between your workouts. If you do weight training every day, you could damage your muscles, so have a rest day in between each weight training session.
Work the larger muscle groups rather than isolated muscle groups
Working out the larger muscle groups is way more efficient than working out isolated muscles – it burns off more calories, and therefore fatter. It’s as simple as that – you can spend the same amount of time exercising. Still, you can burn off many more calories if you work the larger muscle groups compared to the smaller ones.
For example, a push-up is a great exercise that will work many of your upper body muscles, including the shoulders, chest, upper back, biceps, and triceps. However, a bicep curl will only work the biceps. A push-up burns many more calories than a bicep curl, it will burn off more fat. This is a similar idea to power walking versus regular walking – power walking helps you burn off more calories, which means that it will burn off more fat.
Work out your larger muscle groups to burn fat more quickly and efficiently. But remember to work out the smaller muscles groups, too – work out all muscles equally and for a similar amount of time to properly balance your muscles. Balanced muscles mean less chance of injury.
Work your core
A stronger core means that you’ll have better overall body strength and have improved posture. Pilates and yoga exercises are great for working your core.
11 hormones and enzymes that impact belly fat
Hormones are chemical messengers that perform certain functions in our body, such as regulating our weight.
Leptin, insulin, and sex hormones and growth hormones help influence our appetite, metabolism, and body fat distribution.
When there are excess fat cells, the signalling can become confused, overstimulated and fatigued.
Researchers say that the visceral fat on our abdomens (belly fat) is the most dangerous due to the results of what the fat cells are now telling our bodies.
Leptin controls our appetite by being released into the blood and telling our brain we are full.
Overweight and obese people have more leptin in the blood. Still, it appears as though their body ignores the message that they are full. So they continue to eat beyond their calorie intake requirements.
This is known as leptin resistance, and it’s unclear why this occurs. Leptin influences insulin, and an increase in leptin can also induce insulin resistance.
In people with a healthy weight, adiponectin levels are quite high, but they drop dramatically in overweight and obese people.
What adiponectin does in the body is important for weight control. It encourages the metabolism of fatty acids, lipids and saccharides and prevents atherosclerosis from developing.
It also helps to control blood sugar levels and makes the body more sensitive to insulin. If you have smaller amounts of this released, then the metabolism of fats and sugars will be slowed.
It is unclear of the exact role of resistins, but scientists think that the more resistin you have, the more inflammation you will have, as it’s linked with inflammatory markers.
Most of our bodies oestrogen is produced in fat cells.
If we have excess fat cells, then we produce too much oestrogen, leading to a condition known as oestrogen dominance.
This is linked to conditions such as PCOS and obesity. Fat distribution linked with excess oestrogen is accumulated around the belly- the ‘apple’ shape.
Aromatase is involved in sex hormone metabolism. It is an enzyme that helps convert testosterone to oestrogen.
It can be found in many cells, not just fat cells, but having excessive fat cells, stimulates more production.
This hormone is produced in the pancreas and tells our body to absorb glucose, and helps metabolise fats and carbohydrates.
In an overweight or obese person, insulin signals get lost or ignored, known as insulin resistance, and our bodies do not absorb glucose as well as it should.
This is linked to metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes.
Ghrelin is known as the hunger hormone. It’s released in the stomach and tells our body we are hungry.
There’s a greater amount of this hormone in our body before we eat and the lowest after. It has more roles than that though, and it also inhibits insulin secretion and decreases thermogenesis to regulate energy expenditure.
Unexpectedly, Ghrelin levels are normally lower in people with obesity, and scientists think they are more sensitive to it.
The angiotensin system possibly plays a role in body-fat accumulation and is also involved in blood pressure control.
Angiotensin also stimulates the release of a steroid hormone called aldosterone from the adrenal cortex to promote sodium retention by the kidneys.
9. Lipoprotein Lipase
Lipoprotein lipase is found mainly on the surface of cells within muscles and in fatty tissue.
This enzyme plays an important role in breaking down fat in the form of triglycerides, which are carried from various organs to the blood.
Apolipoprotein E is a protein that combines with fats (lipids) in the body to form molecules called lipoproteins.
Lipoproteins are responsible for carrying fats and cholesterol through the bloodstream.
11. Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1
Involved in blood clotting, which is one reason why heart disease and stroke are such high risks when obese.
As you can see, being obese triggers your hormones to support you being obese by encouraging more fat cells!
The hormones that impact our appetite and fat metabolism act in reverse when we put on weight, leading us to higher risk factors of diseases like heart disease.
The good news, it is preventable and reversible through lifestyle and dietary management!
The best supplements to use to blast belly fat
A few further ways to speed up fat loss is to use a variety of supplements.
A probiotic is one supplement that will greatly help with digestion, which, therefore, will help flatten the tummy and increase your chance of losing the last bit of body fat.
2. Fish oil
Fish oil is another great tool in speeding up fat loss as it is thought to positively influence metabolism, meaning that you’ll digest your food more quickly, to activate enzymes in your body that are responsible for burning fat, which also means that your body burns fat more easily, and also helps to reduce insulin resistance.
Studies have shown that taking fish oil supplements in conjunction with doing regular aerobic exercise can help you to burn off up to 26% more calories per day and more body fat than if you didn’t take any fish oil supplements.
3. Cut out dairy and gluten and drink The Healthy Mummy Smoothie
If you are still finding it hard to lose tummy fat, try cutting dairy and gluten from your diet (The Healthy Mummy smoothies are free from dairy and gluten).
These two groups of food cause a lot of bloating and fluid retention and could be just the thing you need to get rid of those last few kilos.
Try using almond, soy or lite coconut milk instead of regular cows milk and gluten-free wraps instead of regular bread. You will not miss them after a week or two, so give it a try.
4. Have a blood test to rule out any deficiencies
Pregnancy and childbirth can also deplete women of various nutrients such as iron and iodine. So it may be worth getting a blood test or complete thyroid panel to rule out any deficiencies if you are getting stuck with your weight loss efforts.
A great natural medicine practitioner can also check for genetic irregularities that your GP may not test for, such as the modern day ‘Fat Gene’. It is a simple and affordable DNA test that can greatly help in difficult cases.
Reasons you may NOT be losing belly fat
If you are trying and failing to lose belly fat, we can help!
There are many medical, environmental and genetic reasons why we find it hard to lose weight. Although science tells us it’s calories in vs energy out. For most that have struggled with eating a good diet and exercising profusely, you know it can’t be true.
People with excess visceral belly fat are more prone to heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
If you’re having a difficult time getting rid of your belly fat, it could be for a variety of reasons. Here are a few things that might be preventing you from losing fat:
1. Your age
With age, your body changes how it gains and loses weight.
This is due to hormonal changes and the ageing process. Pre-menopause and menopause also affect belly fat. You may find the changes in your body overwhelming. This isn’t easy to deal with, especially if you’ve been fit your entire life. As we age, we lose muscle, and if we do not exercise, it is a matter of use it or lose it.
We experience a declining metabolic rate or the number of calories the body needs to function normally as we age. On top of that, we have menopause as well, which makes it difficult to lose kilos.
“If women gain weight after menopause, it’s more likely to be in their bellies,” says Michael Jensen, MD, professor of medicine in the Mayo Clinic’s endocrinology division.
We also hold on to excess body weight as we age. Often for men and women, this becomes the doughnut around your middle, the dreaded belly fat.
Hormonal changes in the natural ageing process slow down the resting metabolic rate. When your metabolism slows down you burn fewer calories.
So how can you lose belly fat? You replace fat with muscle. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn – lose fat maintain muscle. So resistance training, as well as a cardiovascular workout is a great way to start.
2. You’re eating the wrong foods
If you’re eating junk food regularly, it will impact your health in many ways, especially around your belly as too much salt, sugar and refined carbohydrates contribute to fat storage.
Refined grains like white bread, crackers, and chips, as well as refined sugars in sweetened drinks and desserts, increase inflammation in our bodies. Belly fat is associated with inflammation.
Ditch the takeaways, lollies and soft drinks and try incorporating foods like green leafy vegetables into your diet and drinking a lot more water.
There are lots of healthy foods that can be added to your daily meals to increase your fat-burning potential and the ability to lose stomach fat. These homemade baked beans (pictured above) are a delicious, healthy and budget-friendly recipe that will help to trim your tummy fat!
3. Too much stress
Not only does stress lead you to reach for those junk foods. It also triggers the release of cortisol, a stress hormone. When stress becomes unrelenting, the omentum attempts to control cortisol flow by sucking it out of the bloodstream.
When we’re stressed, the stress hormone cortisol is chronically elevated, and this turns our bodies into fat-storing machines.
This is because elevated cortisol levels increase the activity of the major fat-storing enzyme – lipoprotein lipase (LPL).
Cortisol also makes the body more insulin-resistant. This means the body will need to release more insulin to get the job done. This can lead to greater fat storage, and the slowed release of fat will also be worsened.
Try clearing your mind with a walk, a bit of yoga or just having some downtime with our Mind, Body and Breath sessions on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge.
4. Lack of sleep
A 16-year study of almost 70,000 women found that those who slept five hours or less a night were 30% more likely to gain 30 or more pounds than those who slept 7 hours.
Sleepless nights don’t just ruin your mood the next day! They could also be ruining your waistline. Sleep loss also causes our bodies to release more ghrelin, another hormone that signals hunger, and less leptin, the hormone that tells your stomach that it’s full.
With your hormones off-kilter, your body wants more food and lacks the ability to know when to stop eating. Not to mention that being awake for more hours gives you more time to snack!
5. Medical issues
These are more serious, but certain medical conditions may mean you’re more likely to develop a bit of weight around the middle. Certain medical conditions like PCOS, Cushing’s disease and Liver disease mean you’re more likely to develop a bit of weight around the middle. Similarly, people with Type 2 diabetes are also more susceptible.
Be sure to chat with your doctor if you are struggling to lose weight through diet changes and exercise. They may be able to make further suggestions to make losing stomach fat easier.
As we get older, our oestrogen levels change, and the fat tends to move to our stomachs.
While some stomach fat is fairly common, a lot may indicate a hormonal imbalance.
There are a few hormones that can affect weight loss including:
- Leptin – A protein that acts as a hormone in helping to prevent obesity by regulating appetite. Very few people are deficient in this hormone.
- Ghrelin – A protein secreted by stomach cells and promotes positive energy balance by stimulating appetite and promoting efficient energy storage. In a condition called ‘Prader-Willi syndrome’ – ghrelin levels stay high after eating, which promotes an excessive appetite. People with this syndrome would find it difficult to lose weight.
A lack of sleep can also increase ghrelin levels and decrease leptin – therefore increasing appetite and decreasing satiety levels. This may explain correlations made between lack of sleep and a high BMI (Body Mass Index).
A common disorder is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) which can cause weight gain because the body struggles more when using insulin. This insulin resistance means that glucose and sugar can build up in the bloodstream, not only resulting in weight gain around the tummy but also making it virtually impossible to get rid of that stomach fat.
7. Too much alcohol
Alcohol intake is often associated with having a bigger waist because when you drink, the liver burns alcohol instead of fat stores. Plus, when you drink a lot, it makes you want to reach for unhealthy food choices that complement it, such as snacks, burgers and pizza.
If you want to drink alcohol, try to have one glass of water between each alcoholic beverage to limit your intake and eat something with lots of fresh veggies beforehand to fill you up.
8. The wrong type of exercise
If you really want to get rid of belly fat, you need to work the whole body and lose fat everywhere.
Work on multiple muscle groups with full-body, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts. That way you’ll get toned arms and legs too (and not just tummy fat loss)!
All these exercises and more are included in the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge.
9. You have a higher number of fat cells
You can shrink fat cells through healthy eating and exercise – but fat cells in actual fact don’t die. Therefore if you have been obese in the past, it is easier for you to regain the weight. It basically means that you must be more vigilant in leading a healthy lifestyle with the main focus being on what you eat.
10. You have an underactive thyroid or iodine deficiency
According to researchers, iodine consumption has dropped in Australia. This affects the level of thyroid hormone and can lead to a slower basal metabolic rate (BMR).
Iodine is essential in making thyroid hormones and during pregnancy, we transfer iodine to the foetus for adequate development.
The National Health and Medical Research Council recommends iodine supplementation during pregnancy.
For non-pregnant women, iodised salt can be used (as long as there is no high blood pressure or salt restriction) along with fortified bread, (not including organic). Seaweeds are also high in iodine as are marine foods, including regular fish (e.g. tinned salmon) and shellfish (e.g. oysters).
Please note, women with pre-existing thyroid conditions should not take iodine supplements until they have checked with their doctor.
11. You have adipose/visceral fat
Adipose fat is located all around the body and internal organs. This type of fat is a major endocrine and secretory organ that releases protein signals called adipokines. This is linked to the development of obesity, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
This fat can also impair insulin signalling – which results in higher insulin levels and in turn higher fat storage and reduced fat oxidation. People that lead a sedentary lifestyle with diets high in refined sugars, processed foods and saturated fat are at most risk of having high levels of adipose fat.
12. Lack of physical exercise
Working at a sedentary job that doesn’t give you the opportunity to move around and increase your heart rate leads to muscle loss, which decreases the rate at which your body burns calories. As this happens, you gain weight and some of this weight can be concentrated in your abdominal area.
If you don’t start to exercise regularly, you won’t be able to lose that extra weight despite decreasing your caloric intake.
Tabata is a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout, featuring exercises that last 4 minutes. It incorporates a warm-up and uses full-body exercises that engage as many muscle groups as possible
There may be a number of reasons that you’re struggling to lose belly fat. The mummy pouch is notoriously hard to shift, but you can do it (and if you need extra help check out the 28 Day Challenges)!
13. You’re eating too much sugar
Ditch the muffins and cakes! Sugar clings to our middle so make sure you are loading up on veggies and fruit instead.
If you must have that sweet fix then try some of our healthier sweet treat recipes.
14. You’re not eating enough protein
Protein helps build lean muscle and is a great source of energy, too. You don’t have to just eat meat for protein, it can be found in eggs, milk and chickpeas as well.
Up your protein intake with our Protein Powder.
15. You’re eating too much
It’s all well and good eating a healthy diet, but if you’re piling too much on your plate then your body is never going to burn off the fat around your tummy.
Watch your portion sizes, mamma!
16. You’re not eating regularly enough
Crash diets or skipping breakfast may help you lose weight quickly in the beginning, but it’s hard to sustain. If your body feels hungry then it could be storing fat because it’s going into starvation mode.
Make sure you eat regular meals throughout the day.
17. You’re not resting enough
Make sure if you are doing a lot of exercises that you take days to rest. It’s important for the body as well as your mind.
It will also help your body recover in between workouts and give you more energy.
18. You’re not feeling motivated
You may be eating healthily and exercising but if you’re not feeling motivated then you could be more likely to slip up along the way.
Are you over 40? Here are 6 simple ways to lose belly fat
When you hit middle age, your metabolism slows right down compared to when you were in your 20s.
Sure, it may be harder to maintain a flat tum as you age, but we don’t have to live with a pouch just because we’re 40.
So what exactly is the secret to burning off unwanted tummy fat when you’re over 40?
1. Burn off more energy
The best way to unveil your hidden 6-pack is to boost your metabolism and get moving more. We naturally start to slow down during middle age, whether we realise it or not.
So get moving. And if you haven’t the energy to run laps for hours on end, like you were able to 10 years ago, then exercise in short bursts.
2. Exercise efficiently
How you work out matters more the older you get. Not only do you have more things to juggle – kids, a job, a husband – but your body now works differently.
Try exercising for at least 20 minutes a day, doing weights or really getting your muscles burning, instead of spending hours walking on a treadmill.
3. Eat less sugar and salt
As we get older we tend to watch what we eat more. Gone are the boozy carefree days. But it’s important to watch what you are putting into your mouth. Sugary food and salty food will make you feel bloated.
4. Cut back on carbs
It’s important to maintain your blood sugar levels as you age, especially if diabetes type 2 runs in your family. A major trigger of developing this could be eating too many white carbs, such as white bread, white pasta, cereal and sweetened drinks. Instead, try upping your protein.
5. Get enough sleep
In your 20s, you probably stayed up until all hours of the morning – whether that was because you were partying or up with your newborns. In your 40s, you may notice how hard it is to function on very little sleep. A good night’s rest will help your body bounce back better and stop you from craving unhealthy food.
6. Be patient
In our 20s, we could easily drop kilos by cutting back on calories, but as we’ve mentioned numerous times, your metabolism slows down.
Unfortunately, our old tricks don’t necessarily work anymore. By sticking to a plan, you’ll eventually notice the scales going down.
How to reduce belly fat if you have PCOS, an underactive thyroid or IBS
Carrying stubborn fat around your middle may be a side effect or symptom of a larger health condition, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), an underactive thyroid or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
While chatting to your GP should be your first port of call, Healthy Mummy nutritionist Elisha Danine is here to share her knowledge and insight.
As a holistic nutritionist, Elisha believes most diseases stem from some sort of inflammation.
“Conditions such as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) and thyroid imbalance can all be attributed to inflammation in the body,” she says.
“This also corresponds directly to inflammatory foods in the diet. We can do certain things, such as reduce the number of processed foods that we consume and concentrate more on eating whole foods.”
Inflammation can potentially lead to weight gain, worsen insulin resistance and make it harder to shift stubborn fat, such as belly fat.
Foods to reduce inflammation
Foods to include in your diet to reduce the likes of inflammation include leafy green vegetables. Leafy green vegetables have an incredible detoxifying effect on the body.
This includes foods:
- Bok choy
- Leafy greens contain many phytochemicals, which are plant compounds that offer disease prevention.
- Berries such as blueberries, blackberries and raspberries, also help in reducing toxic load as they contain antioxidants that reduce free radicals that can come from environmental toxins.
Elisha suggests eating at least one serve of green leafy vegetables and one serve of berries every day.
What foods to avoid
A diet too heavy on wheat and other heavily sprayed grains can adversely affect your health and ability to shift belly fat.
Choosing organic can help to reduce the toxic load, or avoiding gluten-containing grains such as barley, wheat, rye and oats can help
The way gluten can cause toxicity is when you have small holes in the intestine – called leaky gut.
Gluten then gets into the bloodstream – where it shouldn’t be, and our body can create an immune reaction to this. This can show in the form of IBS symptoms, thyroid imbalance or other inflammatory conditions.
Sugar can also cause inflammation when we eat too much of it.
The World Health Organisation suggests we consume a maximum of 6 teaspoons or 25g of total sugars in the diet PER DAY.
Start by cutting out added sugars in soft drinks, biscuits, cakes, confectionery, packaged foods, sauces and condiments.
“Your body will thank you for it,” says Elisha.
As part of the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge, there is the Customer Choice Meal Plan which contains recipes to help those with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).
And it is now live!
7 tips to reduce belly fat if you have PCOS
If you suffer from PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) you’ll know that one of the symptoms is weight gain.
You can still lose weight when you have PCOS, but you have to use all of the tools you have at the same time – rather than some of the tools some of the time.
1. Eat real food
Just eat as much real, unprocessed, healthy food as you can. Follow a healthy eating plan such as the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge to make it even easier on yourself. Skip the packaged/processed food and get back to basics with what you are eating.
2. Make your own healthy treats
Foods high in sugar, trans fats, and/or carbohydrates such as white flour (think doughnuts, cake, biscuits, ice cream) can wreak havoc with your blood sugar levels and hormones, which affect your ability to lose weight.
As part of the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge, we give you recipes that you can make yourself that are enjoyable as a treat but won’t undo all your hard work.
3. Don’t skip meals
It’s important to keep your blood sugar levels stable, and the worst thing you can do for that skips meals. That’s why as part of the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge we give you recipes and meal plans for 3 meals and 3 snacks per day.
Naturally, you need to take into account your BMI, nutritional needs, whether you’re breastfeeding etc. But on the whole, it’s a good idea to eat regularly to avoid the blood sugar drops that occur when you’re famished.
4. Stay hydrated
It’s so easy to ignore the messages to drink more water, but it is vitally important if you want to lose weight. It’s also recommended to avoid soft drinks and juice (both sugar-sweetened or those using sweeteners) due to the sugar spike it can cause in your system.
Drink plenty of herbal tea, spike your water or sparkling water with berries or lemon, and enjoy moisture-rich foods such as soup and fresh fruit.
5. Get moving
You don’t have to join a gym or buy fancy equipment to get started with exercise. Join the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge and access the simple at-home exercises that you can do throughout the day (whenever you can – it doesn’t have to be all done at once).
Try to add a few more steps to your day by parking a little further away at the shops, or walking to an errand instead of driving where possible.
6. Check your levels
It’s common that despite a healthy diet such as the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge we can still find ourselves deficient in certain vitamins and minerals that are needed for good health. For instance, many vegetarians or vegans find themselves low in vitamin B12 (which is more commonly found in meat); or anyone who doesn’t eat a lot of fish may find themselves low in omega-3.
Next time you’re at the doctor, get some blood tests done to check your levels (think iron, Vitamin D, B vitamins etc) to see if there are any tweaks you can make to your food plan (or you may be advised to take a supplement).
7. Take time out to relax
Easier said than done, right? But us mums are notorious for living life on the go without a lot of downtime to relax and refresh. Over time, our bodies build up higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol (which can lead to insulin resistance – a symptom of which is abdominal weight gain). Not ideal.
Schedule in time for yourself for a walk, a bath, reading time, an exercise class, meditation – whatever works for you. If that means you need to organise a friend to mind the kids, do it.
Put all of these 7 tips together and really give your health the focus it deserves to lose weight and keep it off, despite all that PCOS throws at you. Good luck!
Eat these 9 foods to lose belly fat
1. Cut back on dairy
Lactose intolerance can range from mild to severe, but either way, gas is usually a symptom. If you are feeling bloated, try limiting the amount of milk, cheese, yoghurt, and ice cream you eat and see if that helps.
If it does, you don’t have to ditch dairy altogether. Drink lactose-free milk, or take Lactaid pills to help your body digest milk products.
2. Ditch the potato chips
Your favourite snacks may be giving you belly fat! Most chip brands are cooked in hydrogenated oils. This type of oil is called trans-fat. Trans-fat is known to increase cholesterol, contribute to heart disease and increase weight.
Chips that don’t contain hydrogenated oil may have high amounts of fat from other oils they’re fried in. There are baked and low-fat potato chips on the market that make better choices.
However, be aware of the calorie count. High calories still contribute to belly fat.
3. Try not to drink soft drinks
Soda is not only unhealthy for you, but it also increases belly fat. It has empty calories that add excess weight and also provides large amounts of sugars. This sugar comes in the form of fructose and other additives. Your body has a hard time burning this sugar off, especially in the mid-section.
You may think that diet soft drinks are better, but they also contain artificial sweeteners that contribute to bad health. It’s best to drink pure water to lose your belly fat.
4. Avoid processed baked goods
So convenient, so tasty (if we’re being honest here), but so not worth it. Those pre-packaged mini muffins, doughnuts, and dessert cakes will add tons of calories and loads of unwanted sugar to your diet, plus they aren’t easy to digest.
These foods are bad on so many levels because they are filled with high sugar content and preservatives for a longer shelf-life — they can literally sit there forever!
Sugar increases inflammation, which is not only bad for you but can also make you look puffy and bloated. Skip the wrapped stuff and grab fresh fruit for a sweet fix instead. For that, I suggest this healthy doughnut recipe!
5. Steer clear of fried foods
Deep-fried chicken and french fries taste good, but they will not do your stomach any favour. Fast food, for example, is usually greasy and has very little vitamins and minerals or fibre.
Instead, it is loaded with sodium and trans-fat which manifests itself in your stomach. If you must have fast food, choose more healthy options from the menu.
6. Limit margarine
Choose a small amount of regular butter or soft spread over margarine when topping foods or baking!
Margarine is usually loaded with trans-fat and is found in plenty of pastries, crackers, snack foods, and even microwave popcorn, so limit intake to keep cholesterol levels in check.
7. White flour and rice
Try to cut back on the white carbs if you are truly determined to see your belly vanish. Trade your white bread, flour, rice, and pasta for whole-grain products such as brown bread and rice.
White carbs have already been processed and are therefore digested rapidly by the body to be stored as fat.
Cereals are not necessarily bad for you, but some people usually double the serving size which means more is eaten than the box actually recommends.
So if you find that your pants are getting a bit snug in the mornings, you might want to try weighing your cereal with a measuring cup before you start to gulp it down. Also, choose a nut milk like almond-milk, and avoid the temptation to add sugar.
9. Refined sweeteners and sugar
Refined sugar helps to raise the insulin level in the body which promotes the storage of fat. It also affects the immune system and makes it harder to fight off germs and diseases.
Check out more foods and drinks to help you lose belly fat.
36 ways to lose belly fat
These tips require no starvation diets, removing food groups or unrealistic exercise schedules. In fact, these are all realistic and basic knowledge that sometimes we can forget with all the information out there.
Tummy fat is the most troublesome place to lose fat from and as mums, it causes us many issues as we gain lots in that area during the process of having our babies.
1. Make it a lifestyle
Following a healthy eating plan such as the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge will help you achieve this. In essence, it’s about eating food as natural as possible and reducing your intake of processed foods.
Shredding fat and keeping it off long-term means making changes that YOU can live with. As everyone is different, and different routines may work for some and not others, trial and error are what it’s all about here.
To ensure you’re not over-restrict calories follow the Challenge meal plan which you can customise to suit your personal needs, and find an exercise program that adequately challenges you, The Healthy Mummy exercise hub has over 350 exercise videos and offers sufficient variety so that you can maintain your fitness.
Using the huge Healthy Mummy support community, when you have down days (which we ALL do), lean on the other mums going through the exact same thing as you, find solace in each other, join your local consulting group, exchange recipes and meal preps with each other. The support at The Healthy Mummy is endless!
2. Understand stomach fat
There are two types of fat that are found around your stomach area: subcutaneous and visceral. Subcutaneous fat (this means “under the skin”) is the fat you can see and grab, while visceral fat lies further inside your body and surrounds the vital organs in the stomach area.
Too much visceral fat is what forces the stomach outwards and is what leads to your stomach sticking out.
Although most of us are very self-conscious about the (subcutaneous) fat they can see, research shows that the visceral fat – in people of any size – could be the bigger threat to our health.
3. Eat clean
It’s all about eating food as close to natural as possible and reducing your processed food intake. This means plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables to keep us full and healthy while keeping our sugar and simple carb intake down.
Following a healthy eating plan such as the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge will help you achieve this. In essence, it’s about eating food as close to nature as possible and reducing your intake of processed foods.
Here’s where to find the recipe for our Simple Prawn and Garden Salad (pictured below).
Focus on exercises targeting the stomach and core. While you can’t ‘spot reduce’ stomach fat, regular intensive exercise, even for a few minutes a day, can help you reduce fat around the tummy.
Try some cardio, strength training, HIIT or even just jumping on a treadmill to get your body moving and burn fat.
Try exercises that target the stomach and core, such as the plank.
Try this at-home HITT workout to get a little taste!
5. Eat foods that reduce bloating
Often, bloating may be the real issue, rather than stomach fat itself. Eating certain food and drink can go a long way to reducing bloating that can make you feel frumpy.
Tummy fat burning foods include fennel seeds, asparagus, avocado, garlic, green tea, kimchi and blueberries.
Incorporate broccoli, parsley, bananas, nuts, berries, peppermint, and apples into your diet as these are all bloat-busting foods.
See our other blog, the 15 foods and drinks to blast belly fat here, for more info.
With over 4,500 recipes on our Challenge hub, some of our favourite clean-eating recipes from our blog are Lean & Tasty Chicken Burger and Thai Beef And Mango Salad. Drinking more water can also assist with this.
Check out the recipe for our yummy Beef Broccoli Stir Fry here.
Spotlight: Tummy fat burning food example
For this tummy fat burning food recipe, check out our protein-packed chicken and avocado macro bowl – Get the recipe here.
6. Fire up that metabolism
Utilise common tummy fat burning ingredients such as ginger, garlic, cinnamon, chilli, turmeric and cumin in your diet. These foods ignite your metabolism, turning your body into a fat-loss machine.
Check out these cinnamon recipes to help boost your metabolism and lose belly fat.
Why not try our Metabolism Support Formula? They’re breastfeeding and pregnancy-friendly and have been formulated to contain nutrients involved in energy production and the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats in the body.
7. Protein, protein, protein!
Protein is an extremely important nutrient for weight management.
High protein intake increases the release of the fullness hormone.
Protein also raises your metabolic rate and helps you to retain muscle mass during weight loss.
Lean protein (with less fat) keeps you fuller for longer, which reduces the likelihood of reaching for a sugary snack after your meal, which aids in belly fat loss.
Think nuts, salmon, lean meats (such as chicken and turkey), tofu, eggs, yoghurt, tuna and certain cheeses.
Upping your protein in a controlled way provides sufficient amino acids to maintain muscle mass while keeping your total calorie count under control.
Eating more frequently will also help shred the fat. Yes, that’s right, eating more! Calculate how many calories you want to consume per day (use our Challenge meal planner), and spread this number evenly across 5-6 meals, instead of having 3 large meals which will leave you feeling sluggish.
8. Strength Training
Spending hours doing cardio exercises will only get you so far when it comes to losing belly fat. The real secret is to add a few strength-training exercises into your routine.
The most effective way to lose belly fat is to build lean muscle in its place. Muscle gets very hungry when exercised and the more you work them the more they seek out fat stores all over your body to fuel it.
Try and include major muscle group exercises into your routine to see your belly fat disappear – such as squats that work the bum and thighs.
9. Make use of your slow cooker
Winter is the time when we want to hunker down and fill up on delicious warming comfort food. And you still can! Make use of this great kitchen gadget to create filling and healthy meals with minimal effort. The 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge has heaps of fibre and protein-filled slow-cooked meals
10. Try The Healthy Mummy Tummy Smoothie with Probiotics
The Healthy Mummy Tummy Smoothie is a complete meal replacement that contains a heap of amazing new ingredients including probiotics to help you lose weight, support your gut health and feel fuller for longer.
As well as being loaded with probiotics to help balance the friendly bacteria in your digestive system, it’s also a great source of dietary fibre to help to relieve you of any toxic build-up. With ingredients such as carrot juice powder, fenugreek seek powder and pumpkin seed, it’s easy to see why it is going to be your secret weapon to fight belly fat!
11. Increase your heart rate
Any sort of exercise is going to help with your total calorie expenditure, so get moving! You don’t need an expensive gym membership!
Any exercise will help increase your calorie expenditure, so get moving! Chase the kids around the park, walk to the beach, stroll to the shops instead of driving, dance around the lounge room or use the multitude of exercise routines from our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge App.
Every little bit counts. Keep as active as you can every day to really get your heart pumping and your energy firing so help stomach fat reduction.
There are so many ways to exercise that don’t involve expensive gym memberships.
This mum lost 50kg without the gym, learn how you can too.
12. Reduce sugar and fat and increase fibre and protein
Sugary, fatty foods (like doughnuts, chocolate biscuits, pastries, cakes, and every other little treat) leave your body feeling unsatisfied and lethargic – you want more and more as they just don’t fill you.
It’s why they often call these empty calories.
Sugar contains fructose, which has been linked to several chronic diseases when consumed in excess and has been linked to extra tummy fat.
Reduce your intake of these foods and instead choose high-fibre and high-protein foods that will leave you feeling energised and satisfied – thus less likely to overeat.
Try eggs with wholegrain toast, tuna salads, chicken and veggie wraps, fruit and nuts, steak and vegetables. After all, it’s better not to gain belly fat in the first place than to have to lose it once it’s on.
The good news all our Healthy Mummy Smoothies have NO added sugar
If you’re finding it hard to part with the white stuff, try a detox with our Sugar Detox Cookbook which contains easy-to-follow facts about sugar and information on how you can improve your family’s health and well-being by breaking your sweet addiction.
Satisfy your sweet tooth occasionally, but try limiting your intake of sugar to fresh fruit or bake some of our healthy snacks which have natural sweetness like dates, coconut and vanilla. This mum made 130 sugar-free snacks and you can too!
13. Get accountable
Take your measurements and weigh yourself. It is important not to only rely on the scales as it can be misleading.
But taking measurements and weighing yourself will give you a more accurate indication of your weight loss and tummy fat loss.
14. Try this Belly Busting Smoothie
Crank up the belly-busting powers of your Healthy Mummy Smoothies and add extras such as chia seeds, cinnamon and oats to assist in losing tummy fat – here is one of our favourite smoothie recipes.
- 2 x tbsp of Vanilla Healthy Mummy Smoothie mix
- 1/4 cup blueberries
- 1 x tbsp of chia seeds
- 1 x tbsp of oats
- 250ml of low-fat soy milk/unsweetened Almond milk – or use any low-fat milk
Blend for 2-3 minutes
15. Eat lots of fibre, especially soluble fibre
The best thing you can do for your body is to eat plenty of fibre. It helps prevent weight gain, by reducing appetite and helping to normalise bowel movements. Fibre-rich foods absorb more water, which helps to keep us feeling full. There is some evidence that the weight loss effects of fibre target belly fat specifically. The best high-fibre foods to eat include chickpeas, apples, rolled oats, green beans, sweet potato and fresh berries.
Soluble fibre absorbs water and forms a gel that helps slow down food as it passes through your digestive system.
Studies show that this type of fibre promotes weight loss by helping you feel full, so you naturally eat less. Also, soluble fibre may help fight belly fat.
Plus BONUS tip is to try out our CONTROL X which is high in soluble fibre and tastes AMAZING
16. Avoid foods that contain trans fats
They’re found in some spreads and also often added to packaged foods, but many food producers have stopped using them.
These fats have been linked to inflammation, heart disease, insulin resistance, and abdominal fat gain.
17. Don’t drink too much alcohol
Research suggests that too much alcohol can also make you at more risk of gaining tummy fat.
Cutting back on alcohol may help reduce your waist size. You don’t need to give it up altogether, but limiting the amount you drink in a single day can help.
Alcohol, especially sweet fizzy-based drinks and beer make it nearly impossible to lose stomach fat and puts extra stress on your liver to clear out the toxins. This extra pressure on your liver can make it very hard to build muscle which is key to losing belly fat. Extra stress on your liver can make it more difficult for you to build muscles mass, and without lean muscles mass, you’ll find it difficult to shift the pounds in the future.
18. Reduce your stress levels
Stress can make you gain belly fat by triggering the adrenal glands to produce cortisol, which is also known as the stress hormone.
Women who already have a large waist tend to produce more cortisol in response to stress.
Try our meditation sessions in The Healthy Mummy app
19. Do cardio exercise
Cardio is an effective way to improve your health.
Studies also show that it’s one of the most effective forms of exercise for reducing belly fat.
Good news – we have over 350 cardio workouts in The Healthy Mummy App
20. Spice Things Up
Spicy foods contain an active component called capsaicin. By adding some chilli or bell peppers to your meals, you’re helping boost your metabolism naturally, without any harsh accelerants. Capsaicin also turns the bad, unhealthy white fat into fat-burning brown fat through a process of creating heat from burning fat.
21. Cut back on carbs — especially refined carbs
Reducing your carb intake can be very beneficial for losing fat, including abdominal fat.
You don’t have to follow a strict low-carb diet. Some research suggests that simply replacing refined carbs may improve metabolic health and reduce belly fat.
22. Perform resistance training (lift weights)
Resistance training, also known as weight lifting or strength training, is important for preserving and gaining muscle mass.
The good news we have lots of weights based programs in The Healthy Mummy App
23. Get plenty of sleep
Sleep is important for many parts of your health, including your weight. Studies show that people who don’t get enough sleep tend to gain more weight, which may include belly fat.
24. Track your food intake and exercise
Many things can help you lose weight and belly fat, but consuming fewer calories than your body needs for weight maintenance is key.
Keeping a food diary or using an online food tracker or The Healthy Mummy app can help you monitor your calorie intake.
25. Eat fatty fish every week
They’re rich in high-quality protein and omega-3 fats that protect you from the disease.
Some evidence suggests that these omega-3 fats may also help reduce visceral fat.
Breastfeeding is a great fat loss tool – many women say that breastfeeding helped them to lose weight. Breastfeeding also helps to shrink your uterus, which means that your tummy will look smaller.
If you are not breastfeeding – don’t worry – we have lots of other ways to help!
27. Stop drinking sugary fruit juice
Although fruit juice provides vitamins and minerals, it’s high in sugar.
Drinking large amounts may carry the same risk for abdominal fat gain.
28. Take apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has impressive health benefits, including lowering blood sugar levels.
It contains acetic acid, which has been shown to reduce abdominal fat storage in several animal studies.
You can also check out our High Strength Apple Cider Vinegar Tablets here
29. Eat probiotic foods or take a probiotic supplement
Probiotics are bacteria found in some foods and supplements. They have many health benefits, including helping improve gut health and enhancing immune function.
Researchers have found that different types of bacteria play a role in weight regulation and that having the right balance can help with weight loss, including loss of belly fat.
And the good news is we have probiotics in our Tummy Smoothie.
P.S check out our TUMMY smoothie here
30. Drink green tea
It contains caffeine and the antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), both of which appear to boost metabolism.
EGCG is a catechin, which several studies suggest may help you lose belly fat. The effect may be strengthened when green tea consumption is combined with exercise.
31. Exercise your whole body
Sadly, there is no such thing as ‘fat spot reduction’ and we can’t tell our body to simply lose fat from a specific area i.e. the belly.
The key is to exercise your whole body and as you do, your body will seek out excess fat stores that will be used to fuel your exercise session.
However, you can strengthen and work your core so it is strong and when you do lose all over body fat you will have abs to show off. The 28 Day Challenge exercises are designed to speed up fat burning
32. Speed up your metabolism by taking fish oil
Taking fish oil tablets is another tool to speed up fat loss. Fish oil can positively influence metabolism, meaning that you’ll digest your food more quickly. It will activate enzymes in your body that are responsible for burning fat, which also means that your body burns fat more easily, and also helps to reduce insulin resistance.
Studies have shown that taking fish oil supplements in conjunction with doing regular aerobic exercise can help you to burn off up to 26% more calories per day and more body fat than if you didn’t take any fish oil supplements.
33. Make sure you have no food intolerances or allergies
Many people are living with food intolerances or allergies that negatively affect their digestion. As you are constantly exposed to food that your body can’t handle well, it can cause inflammation and digestion issues. Result? Stomach bloating, fluid retention, nausea, and gas.
If you suspect an intolerance or allergy why not try cutting out that food for a couple of weeks and see if it makes a difference. You can also do blood tests or skin prick tests if you are unable to determine the source of the issue.
If you have issues with dairy or gluten you’ll be pleased to know that our Healthy Mummy Smoothies are gluten and dairy-free.
34. Weight training
Cardio exercise is excellent for heart health and for burning calories, but if you just do cardio exercise, you will find it difficult to shift fat from your stomach. To really up the effectiveness of your exercise, add weight training into your regime. It’s fairly simple – to lose belly fat, you need to build lean muscles. The good thing about muscles is that the more you work them, the more they burn off – and the more your fat stores will be depleted. Try exercises such as squats, press-ups and sit-ups to work for the major muscle groups.
If you want to lose stomach fat you will need to stay motivated for longer than a few days. We all have times when we want to give up, but it’s important to push through the hard times because the end goal is worth the effort.
Motivation is the key to weight loss – and fat loss. To lose weight, it’s important that you stay motivated. Losing weight is difficult, but you need to stay motivated when it gets tough – always keep in mind your goal. A great way to stay motivated is to track your progress using a tracking program, as you’ll be able to see the numbers going down – which will keep you on track.
36. Join the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge
We run them every month and they include meals, recipes and exercises to help you get feeling toned and healthy and it takes the hard work out of losing belly fat.
Our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge is an affordable, customisable program designed to help mums reach their weight loss goals and tackle their health.
Our Challenge entails:
- 28 days of at-home exercise routines (no gym needed) – with video instruction
- Customisable and breastfeeding-friendly meal plans
- Time-efficient exercises for busy mums – under 30 mins
- Challenge combines Pilates exercises with interval and circuit training (HIIT)
- Suitable for basic to advanced fitness levels
- Home to thousands of EASY-TO-MAKE recipes!
Other things that will help you with weight loss
Along with the list above, there are other changes you can make in your diet to help you blast that belly fat and get a flat belly. Some simple swaps will help you lose weight and get a toned tummy.
Swaps you can make include:
Switching fats – adding healthy fats into your diets like those found in avocado or omega fatty acids will not only help lose body fat but also has other health benefits. You can also consider switching out more monounsaturated fats for something like olive oil.
Switch the grains – swap out your white rice for brown rice or even quinoa and cut out the refined carbs that can be found in white bread or bagels and instead opt for whole-grain alternatives.
Up the greens – best for overall health and for blasting belly fat is increasing your leafy green veggies such as kale or spinach even if you toss it in your morning smoothie if you’re not a fan of the taste.
And our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenges have complete workouts to bust belly fat and get amazing results like 100,000’s of mums on our Healthy Mummy programs
15 quick tips for BLASTING belly fat FOR GOOD
1. Plan, plan, plan
With kids, families, homes and jobs to allow for, a good plan at the start of each week will help make sure you have enough time every day to do what it takes to keep you happy and healthy.
2. Be consistent
Food, sleep, exercise-everything! It’s important to keep yourself in a regular routine so you make progress.
3. Count calories
Undereating will only encourage your boy to store fat; thinking it’s in survival mode. So eat the right amount of calories for your body type.
Use The HealthyMummy BMR section on the App to help you track.
4. Walk and Weights
Going for a walk every day can help you to keep bloating at bay. Adding a weight session for a full-body workout, to keep blasting calories even after you stop
Tightens, tones and strengthens your core muscles for a leaner tummy. Make sure you engage your core for great results.
Because you raise your legs with this one, it targets your deepest core muscles, which are hard to target with other exercises!
7. Single leg raise
Great for engaging your lower belly, and hip flexors as well as helping to stabilise your lower back and improve your posture. All-round winner!
Eat and drink
Staying hydrated helps you nourish and flourish-plus it helps eliminate bloat.
9. Green Tea
Make sure it’s decaf, and this can be a fantastic caffeine-free afternoon pick me up-also known to aid in digestion.
10. Healthy Mummy Smoothies
Our meal-replacement weight loss smoothies have been formulated by leading nutritionists to be the perfect companion to a busy mum’s life when trying to lose weight. They’re breastfeeding-friendly.
20 serves per 500g tub. For more information and flavours, click here.
A great way to feel fuller for longer, and aid your digestion. Think of fruit and veg as your first port of call-then a few nuts, legumes, and a little whole grain bread are also great sources of fibre.
If you’re feeling bloated-lactose intolerance could be something to consider, as it causes gas. You don’t need to totally ditch the dairy-try cutting back and see how you feel.
13. Soft drinks
With heaps of empty calories and loads of sugar from fructose, these little cans are super tough for your body to burn off-especially around your belly.
14. White flour and rice
Previously processed (in factories) these are very quickly digested by your body-but that’s not a good thing-they’re stored as fat.
As well as additional sugar, alcohol puts extra pressure on your liver to clear out the toxins. This can make it really tough to build muscle, which is key to losing belly fat.
There are lots of ways to lose your belly fat-but these 15 have been tried and tested by The Healthy Mummy community, so we know they work and are super simple to stick to.
The key to any of them-consistency! Stay true to your healthier, happier goals and you’ll be looking at a flatter tummy before you know it.
Make this ONE change to help you lose belly fat
So you are doing really well on your healthy eating plan and eating well – but are you struggling to ditch the extra weight around your tummy?
The good news is – you can help banish it by doing this ONE SIMPLE thing…
Here’s the answer: Cut back dramatically on your alcohol intake.
Here we look at the effects of alcohol and weight loss – especially alcohol and stomach fat.
When you take in more calories than you burn, the excess calories are stored as fat. Where your body stores that fat is determined in part by your age, sex, and hormones. Alcohol is metabolised differently than other foods and beverages.
Under normal conditions, your body gets its energy from the calories in carbohydrates, fats and proteins, which are slowly digested and absorbed within the gastrointestinal system.
Digestion changes when alcohol is present
However, this digestive process changes when alcohol is present. When you drink alcohol, it gets immediate attention (because it is viewed by the body as a toxin) and needs no digestion.
Generally speaking, alcohol intake is associated with having a bigger waist, because when you drink alcohol, the liver burns alcohol instead of fat.
Alcohol suppresses testosterone
Alcohol also suppresses testosterone production, the primary metabolic hormone, this can last up to 24 hours following consumption.
So not only does alcohol delay your liver’s ability to break down fat, but it also obstructs your body’s access to the hormones it needs to help you break down fat.
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When the body is focused on processing alcohol, it is not able to properly break down foods containing carbohydrates and fat.
Therefore, these calories are converted into body fat and are carried away for permanent storage in your body. Even though alcohol contains calories, alcohol doesn’t satisfy us in the same way that food does.
This means we don’t end up consuming fewer food calories to compensate for those we’ve drunk.
Alcohol makes you want to eat more!
In fact, alcohol can make us want to eat more! Alcohol increases your appetite by suppressing leptin, the hormone which normally tells your brain to stop eating and negatively affects many other brain chemicals that are involved in appetite suppression.
It can also make us lose our inhibitions, making the decision to grab a slice of pizza or a greasy kebab all the easier. Our healthy food choices become less important to us!
Alcohol causes dehydration
Another important fact to remember is alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that it causes water loss and dehydration. Along with this water loss, you lose important minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, calcium and zinc.
These minerals are vital to the maintenance of fluid balance, chemical reactions, and muscle contraction and relaxation.
Alcohol hinders sleep
Alcohol hinders your body in other negative ways. For one, it may help induce sleep, but the sleep you get isn’t very deep. You get less rest, which can trigger you to eat more calories the next day.
How to enjoy alcohol while trying to lose weight
All this information can be good and well, but a drink here and there can be okay too.
But just remember that when drinking, try to have one low-calorie drink, ideally water, between each alcoholic beverage to limit your intake.
Have a meal before you start drinking and choose low-energy density foods. Filling up on foods that provide few calories is a good way to reduce your overall energy consumption. Vegetables and fruit are ideal for this and are also highly nutritious.
But if you are totally serious about losing that belly fat, we encourage anyone to rethink their drinking habits, as alcohol consumption will lead to a larger waistline and a bigger belly.
Mums share their top tips to help you lose belly fat
Dani’s Top 10 tips to lose that stubborn belly fat!
Mum Dani is sharing her 10 tips to lose belly fat, read more about Dani’s weight loss story here.
1. Stay away from trans fats
“Read your labels and avoid products that contain trans fats, often listed as Hydrogenated Fats (and sorry! But those deep-fried chips from the local take away are full of them!)”
2. Eat more fibre
“Soluble fibre absorbs water and forms a gel during digestion, so obviously will help keep you fuller for longer. Soluble Fibre can be found in Barley, Lentils, Beans, Oat Bran, Nuts, Fruit & Veg, Peas and Flaxseed. Want more? Read Why is fibre so good for me? Get the FREE high-fibre choc orange nut bites recipe.”
3. Reduce alcohol
“Party pooper alert, don’t shoot the messenger lol…. but studies have linked alcohol consumption increased the risk of central obesity. Central obesity is the spare tyre around your waist!”
4. Eat a high-protein diet
“High protein consumption increases the release of the hormone PYY, the “fullness” hormone – which decreases appetite & promotes the feeling of fullness. Protein also raises metabolic rate and helps you retain muscle mass during weight loss.”
5. Say no to soft drinks
“Soft Drinks are a BIG NO! They are loaded with liquid fructose which makes you gain belly fat.”
Simple Want to quit? Read Nutritionist shows you how to cut out soft drinks from your diet in 3 steps
6. Get more sleep
“We need to sleep! Sleep deprivation leads to weight gain, including belly fat.”
7. Limit your juice consumption
“Juice has JUST as much sugar as soft drinks! Again… full of liquid fructose.”
8. Try Apple Cider Vinegar
“It contains acetic acid, which has been shown to reduce abdominal fat storage.”
9. Drink Green Tea
“Green tea contains the antioxidant EGCG, which boosts metabolism.”
10. Resistance/ Weight train
“Building lean muscle mass will not only make you stronger and protect your bones and joints but it will also help you burn more calories even at rest!”
The Healthy Mummy team would like to congratulate Dani on her amazing transformation and for sharing her valuable tips with us.
Nikita’s top 10 tips for blasting belly fat
Nikita Baxter is a mum who has overcome many health battles in her life including losing over 30 kgs and a flat tummy. She shares her top 10 tips to lose belly fat below.
- FOOD! It’s so important to fuel your body with the best. This is where The Healthy Mummy played a VITAL role in my transformation (Check out the TUMMY smoothie here). Delicious, clean and EASY family-friendly healthy meals, snacks and drinks! Here are four food swaps to make to help you blast belly fat.
- CALORIES! So many people under-eat thinking this will help lose weight…no! This will only encourage your body to store fat as it thinks it’s in starvation mode. Eating the correct amount of calories for your BMR is incredibly important. Use the app to help you track!
- AM WALK! I find going for a walk first up in the morning has always helped keep my bloat at bay. I walk before I have my morning smoothie.
- PM WEIGHTS! I try to fit in a weight session every afternoon. I don’t tend to target areas but complete a full-body workout with dumbbells and a barbell. You burn calories long after the sessions are complete, so I find playing with some weights really boosts my results. The Healthy Mummy app has a fantastic weights section!
- WATER! Upping your water intake is imperative! You need to be hydrated for your body to feel nourished and to flourish. Believe it or not – it also reduces bloat!
- ENGAGE! It’s incredibly important when doing ‘AB’ exercises, to engage your core properly. If you haven’t correctly engaged, your muscles aren’t activated and ultimately you won’t see results. Correct activation also helps reduce any back discomfort and reduces the chance of injury.
- PLANK! You’ve probably heard this a thousand times – that’s because IT WORKS! Tightens, tones and strengthens your core muscles. Everything us mums need.
- CONSISTENCY! You need to be consistent. In everything you do! Food, exercise, sleep – everything. It’s important to keep your body in a regular routine to ensure progress. We all have moments, but it’s how we recover from them that determine the impact. Why wait until Monday when you overdo a Friday night? Start Saturday morning! Back on the train.
- PLAN! I work full-time. I have a 2 1/2-year-old. My husband works away. I have to plan my days and weeks. I meal prep on a Sunday (lunches and dinners) pack lunches and bags the night before, set alarms for exercise and follow through! If I can’t exercise before daycare pickup, I do it when my son goes to bed. I always find a way to tick off my daily to-do list. Meal plan!
- COMPARE! Not just the number on the scales. But the cm’s around your waist, numbers on your clothes tag, photos! I always compare my very first before photo as it reminds me how far I’ve come, and where I’ve been. It’s so humbling remembering my journey – struggles and successes.
Kelly’s top 5 tips to BLAST belly fat!
1. Meal prep is key!
“Take the time to sit down and do your plan to make sure the meals suit all tastes in the family,” she says.
Some of Kelly’s favourite recipes include our stovetop lasagne (pictured below), Mexican lasagne, chicken enchiladas and mocha banana bread, all the recipes of which are available on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge!
She also loves the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge App as you can access heaps of recipes from what’s already in her fridge or cupboard!
“This saves me so much time and money which is important for me just coming off maternity leave and sticking to a budget for me and my family,” Kelly adds.
2. Get your workout done early
Kelly says, “I work out in the morning before anyone in my house wakes up. This works perfectly for me and sets me up for a day. I also have more patience and mental clarity during the day which is a big benefit. If I don’t get to work out in the morning and it’s my day off from work, I pop my exercise gear on and won’t change until a workout has been done. YES – I am now one of the ladies who wear her activewear out and I couldn’t be prouder!”
While she enjoys using her cross trainer and weights machine as well as going for walks with her kids, Kelly loves the convenience of the exercises on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge.
“I will be focusing on my core exercises and strength and using the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge App to help me. After injuring my back in March, I have been told by my physio to strengthen the core, so this challenge is perfect for me and these goals!”
Learn more about our Belly Blaster Workouts here!
3. Plan EVERYTHING!
Kelly says, “I know when I’m working out each day, I know when I’m meal prepping and doing the grocery shopping. I stick my meal plan on the fridge so I know what to defrost ready for that night. Use your Healthy Mummy diary or notebook and write it all down if that helps!”
4. Invest in a slow cooker
Seriously, if you want something delicious and warm that requires minimal effort, grab one of these babies!
“You can put dinner on in the morning (try the slow-cooked Asian chicken) and then get home to a hot meal ready to go and your house smells awesome when you get home,” says Kelly.
5. Never skip breakfast
Skipping meals is a big no-no for health and weight loss and Kelly knows that starting the day with the right brekky will get that metabolism firing!
“There are plenty of amazing quick breakfasts in the hub or do as I do, and grab a Healthy Mummy Smoothie and take it with you. These are golden on the days when I have to work and do school drop-off,” says Kelly.
Top tips Kelly, we have no doubt you’ll blast your belly fat!
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It is scientifically designed for gut health, digestion, stomach and weight loss. It will aid with digestion and bloating and it tastes DELICIOUS – it is a creamy vanilla flavour. It is also high in fibre and protein and will help you feel fuller for longer!
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