How to Naturally Lose Belly fat for Women


We’ve all been there: standing in front of the mirror, shirt pulled up, tummy exposed, pinching the excess from your waistline. Before making nutrition a priority, I obsessed over the "roll," but couldn't seem to shed it.

The two types of belly fat

It’s stubborn, annoying, frustrating, but even worse, belly fat can lead to much more than a tight fitting pair of jeans. There are two types of fat surrounding your belly. One is unsightly, makes you self-conscious and the other can wreak havoc on your health. The two types of fat that surround your belly are subcutaneous fat (fat that lies just under your skin – the stuff you can pinch) and visceral fat (the fat surrounding your organs)

Subcutaneous fat is found around the hips and thighs, and doesn't act metabolically like visceral fat does. 

Visceral fat is the deep-lying belly fat that surrounds internal organs and releases inflammatory compounds that negatively affect your system. It can lead to an increased risk of metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes. Women with a lot of belly fat are more likely to develop breast cancer or need gallbladder surgery

As noted by Dr. Axe, one of the reasons excess visceral fat is so harmful could be its location near the portal vein, which carries blood from the intestinal area to the liver. Substances released by visceral fat, including free fatty acids, enter the portal vein and travel to the liver, where they can influence the production of blood lipids. Visceral fat is directly linked with higher total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol, lower HDL (good) cholesterol, and insulin resistance.

Why do we get belly fat?

Before we discuss how to get rid of this unwanted belly excess, let's first look at what led to the belly fat accumulating in the first place. There are three reasons women collect fat around their tummy: 

Hormones

Lifestyle habits

Dietary habits

The female body has been designed to naturally store fat in the hips, thighs, and buttocks to support childbirth and breastfeeding during childbearing years. But as you age, estrogen production decreases and much of that fat is redistributed to the belly. This turns into visceral fat.

Lifestyle choices such as the amount of sleep you get, the amount of stress you carry, and your activity levels have a large impact on your belly fat and overall wellbeing. Are you active? How much TV do you watch in a given night?

Arguably more important than the previous two causes of belly fat, your dietary habits must be kept in check. Eating too much and the type of foods you consume are a large contributor to belly fat as well. 

22 ways to naturally lose belly fat for women

Now that we understand what is going on inside the "muffin top" and what led to it, let's talk about how to get rid of it. I've compiled the top 22 ways to shed your belly naturally: that means no pills, no wraps, no surgery. Consider this your ultimate guide to getting rid of your gut!

Spoiler alert: sit-ups and crunches aren't in this list because they won't do it. These spot exercises can tighten your abdominal muscles, but won't remove the visceral fat.

#1: Avoid sugary foods

We all know that sugar isn't healthy. It contains fructose, which has been linked to several chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and liver disease when consumed in excess.  

Studies have also shown a link between high sugar intake and increased abdominal fat. But as Healthline.com points out, you should realize belly fat doesn't just come from refined sugars. Even natural or "healthier" sugars (such as honey) should be limited.

#2: Avoid sugary drinks

Sugar-sweetened drinks are full of liquid fructose, which can lead to belly fat. And since your brain doesn't process liquid calories the same as solid calories, you're likely to end up consuming more than you should. And that’s why sugary beverages can even be worse than high-sugar foods.

To lose and prevent belly fat, it's a good idea to avoid those sugary beverages and alcoholic mixers containing sugar. 

#3: Consume soluble fiber

Consuming high-fiber foods each day has been shown to promote fat loss. Studies show that soluble fiber causes you to feel full and naturally promotes fat loss. In an observation study, soluble fiber was shown to help reduce belly fat. Soluble fiber has even been shown to combat belly fat.

“An observational study of over 1100 adults found that for every 10-gram increase in soluble fiber intake, belly fat gain decreased by 3.7% over a 5-year period,” according to Healthline.com. Flaxseeds, Brussels sprouts, avocados, legumes, and blackberries are all excellent sources of soluble fiber.

#4: Avoid trans fats

Trans fats have been linked to fat gain along with several other diseases

A study conducted over six years found that monkeys consuming a high-trans-fat diet gained significantly more weight and abdominal fat than the test group. 

To avoid belly fat gain, make sure you are proactively reading labels and avoid products containing trans fats.

#5: Avoid large amounts of alcohol

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It’s called a beer belly for a reason. Research has shown that too much alcohol will lead to belly fat.  Carefully monitoring, and cutting back if needed, can help reduce the size of your tummy.

#6: Eat protein

Studies have proven that if you consume more protein you’ll be more likely to have less fat around your belly

When you consume protein your body releases a hormone called PYY. This hormone helps to decrease your appetite

#7: Reduce stress

When you are stressed your body produces cortisol (a.k.a. the “stress hormone”) and in turn, increases your appetite causing an increase in belly fat.

#8: Do cardio

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Cardio, or aerobic exercise, not only reduces stress but also burns calories.  Aerobic exercise has also been shown to be one of the most effective forms of exercise to remove belly fat.

#9: Do resistance training

Resistance training, also known as weight lifting or strength training (or more broadly known as anaerobic exercise), is important for developing, maintaining, and gaining muscle mass.

As reported by Healthline.com, studies have shown resistance training to be beneficial for people with prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, and fatty liver disease and has even lead to belly fat loss.

#10: Reduce carbs

The dreaded low carb diet {insert eye roll here}: I’m not a fan and I’m assuming you’re not either. But instead of removing carbohydrates altogether, consider lowering the amount you consume per day. Consuming fewer than 50 grams of carbs a day can cause a loss of belly fat. 

#11: Consume coconut oil

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There are bad fats and good fats. Coconut oil is one of the healthiest fats you can eat. Coconut oil boosts your metabolism and discourages fat storage throughout your body and more specifically in your belly.

#12: Get plenty of sleep

When it comes to your health, sleep cannot be overlooked. Studies have shown that poor sleeping habits can dramatically impact your health and lead to weight gain. Make sure that you are getting the proper quantity and quality of sleep each night.

#13: Consider cutting back

Although I’m not a huge fan of counting calories, sometimes awareness is the best way to curb your consumption. Consuming more food than your body needs is a sure way to gain fat.

Keeping a food diary or utilizing a tracker may be what you need for a time to help bring awareness to your consumption.

#14: Stop drinking fruit juice

It’s made from fruit so it must be healthy, right? An overlooked aspect of fruit juices is that they often contain as much, and sometimes even more sugar as soda and other sweetened beverages.

And just like any other sugary beverage, drinking large amounts may lead to abdominal fat storage.

#15: Drink apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, which has been shown to reduce abdominal fat storage in animal studies.

Begin taking 1 to 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar per day to help shrink that belly circumference

#16: Begin taking a probiotic

Probiotics are live bacteria that benefit your health, especially your digestive system. They improve your gut health and your immune function in addition to many other health benefits.

According to Healthline.com, "Researchers have found different types of bacteria play a role in weight regulation, and having the right balance can help with weight loss, including loss of belly fat. Those shown to reduce belly fat include members of the Lactobacillus family. These include Lactobacillus fermentum, Lactobacillus amylovorus and especially Lactobacillus gasseri.” If a slimmer belly is your goal, make sure your probiotic contains one or more of these bacterial strains.

#17: Drink green tea

Green tea has many health benefits. It also boosts your metabolism through caffeine and the antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).

Studies have suggested that EGCG may be effective for losing belly fat. 

#18: Monitor your consumption habits

When it comes to nutrition, awareness plays a large role. Do you eat when you're board? Do you eat when you're watching television? Do you eat more around certain people? It's important to track these behaviors in order to combat these habits that could have a negative impact on your nutrition.

#19: Monitor your lifestyle habits

Being proactive doesn't stop at your dietary practices. Maybe you need to become more active. Are your evenings filled with binge watching Netflix? And what about your weekends? Do all your plans revolve around where, when, and how much you'll eat? Consider joining a sports league. Or picking up a hobby that requires an increased activity level.

#20: Begin HIIT

HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, has been called the secret weapon of fat loss. HIIT alternates between short, intense anaerobic exercises, such as sprints, with less-intense recovery periods. This method of exercise raises your heart rate and allows you to burn more calories in a shorter period of time. And if losing loads of calories in a short period of time wasn't enough of a reason, HIIT offers many other benefits as well.

#21: Begin intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting has been a recent method of fat loss. Nerd Fitness explains it best: “Intermittent fasting is not a diet, but rather a dieting pattern.  It’s making a conscious decision to skip certain meals on purpose. By fasting and then feasting on purpose, intermittent fasting generally means that you consume your calories during a specific window of the day, and choose not to eat food for a larger window of time.

Test subjects of intermittent fasting studies have experienced up to 7% decrease in abdominal fat within a period of 6-24 weeks.

#22: Make it a lifestyle

The best method to shedding that stubborn belly fat naturally is by sticking to a plan – making it a sustainable lifestyle. Here's the hard-to-swallow-truth: if you're going to stop drinking soda for a week it won't help you lose your belly.

And that's why diets don't work. Until something becomes a way of life you won't be able to get sustainable results. Jumping from one method to the next will only leave you more frustrated than when you began.

Some of these methods to losing your belly fat are more difficult than others. But if you're going to see results from any of them you need to make them a part of your lifestyle.

All these ways of toning up your belly will also help you achieve a healthier lifestyle. When you practice healthy habits and have healthy nutrition, fat loss will be a natural result.

So let me ask you:

Don’t let this list of ways to naturally reduce your belly fat overwhelm you. If you’re working to reduce your waistline or want to begin eliminating belly fat start small. Select one or two of these methods that you can make a part of your life.

Or maybe you’re already on your journey to reducing your storage of belly fat. If that’s you, then I encourage you to challenge yourself. Maybe you need to eliminate something from your diet. Or maybe you want to give HIIT a try.

If you’re reading this and you want to shed some belly fat, then don’t leave this page without making a commitment to implementing one or two of the natural belly fat reducing methods. Write your plan in the comments below – which will you choose?