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How long does it take to lose belly fat?

By: Dan Carpenter

The rate at which you lose fat (including belly fat) depends on the size of your average energy deficit. In other words, if you expend more calories than you consume you will lose weight. The rate of fat loss is correlated to the size of this energy deficit, but there is a limit to the speed of the fat loss process. The person can lose weight at a rate of 0.5-1.5% bodyweight a week. Not all of that weight will come from fat, so a realistic target for actual fat loss is 0.3-1% bodyweight per week. 

How quickly can you lose belly fat?

 

Example: an 80kg man losing body fat at a rate of 0.5% per week is losing 0.4kg of fat every week. This is the equivalent of nearly two blocks of butter! 

 

Note: The leaner you get, the slower your rate of fat loss and the larger the energy deficit, the more difficult the diet will be to adhere to. 

 

There are many complex processes involved in the regulation of the body’s energy balance and there are large variations between individuals in terms of rates of loss. Fat loss is not a straightforward, linear process, so whilst these numbers can provide ballpark figures, everyone’s fat loss journey will be different. 

Can you reduce belly fat through specific exercises or nutrition interventions?

 

You can’t pick or choose where you lose fat. It’s common to assume that certain exercises can “burn fat” in the areas they are “targeting” (doing sit-ups to burn belly fat, for example). When it comes to fat loss, it simply doesn’t work this way. Fat falls where it may and seems to happen fairly evenly throughout the body. 

 

There is no evidence to suggest any specific foods or supplements can reduce fat from specific areas of the body either.

 

A blend of regular exercise, high daily activity and a calorie-controlled diet is the most effective way to lose body fat. All of these things ultimately culminate in expending more energy than you consume, forcing the body to utilise its stored energy (mainly in the form of glycogen and body fat) to make up for this energy deficit.

Are there different types of belly fat?

 

There are three categories for body fat; white, brown and beige, each of which functions slightly differently. Excessive white fat is usually the type we want to lose. Fat is stored in two forms; 1) Subcutaneous fat (or “soft fat”) located directly under the skin that you can grab and pinch, and 2) Visceral fat (or “hard fat”) which surrounds the internal organs.

 

White subcutaneous abdominal fat is the belly fat most people want to get rid of, but it’s actually the white visceral fat underneath the abdominal muscles and surrounding the intestines, stomach, liver and kidneys that causes the most damage to your health. 

 

According to the literature, the areas that fat is lost varies between individuals, depending on their gender, ethnicity, lifestyle and genetic predispositions. In our experience, the fat around the central portion of the body (abdominal, hip and thigh region) seems to be more “stubborn” than fat around the extremities (arms, face, neck and lower legs). Patience and consistency in a calorie deficit are key to start seeing reductions in belly fat.

Is belly fat worse for your health than other fat?

 

There are three categories for body fat; white, brown and beige, each of which functions slightly differently. Excessive white fat is usually the type we want to lose. Fat is stored in two forms; 1) Subcutaneous fat (or “soft fat”) located directly under the skin that you can grab and pinch, and 2) Visceral fat (or “hard fat”) which surrounds the internal organs.

 

White subcutaneous abdominal fat is the belly fat most people want to get rid of, but it’s actually the white visceral fat, deep behind the abdominal muscle wall, surrounding the intestines, liver, kidneys and stomach that causes the most damage to your health.

 

If you’re looking to reduce your body fat or get rid of stubborn stomach fat we can help you reach your goals. Talk to a member of our team today, learn more about our four pillars of training and reach your calls. 

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