How to lose belly fat? This is a question that is asked time and time again so this article aims to answer it for you. Having lots of fat in the abdominal area is strongly linked to diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. For this reason, losing belly fat has massive benefits for your health and can help you live longer.

You don't need endless sit-ups, supplements or to starve yourself. Here are the best ways to lose belly fat quickly and naturally.  

First of all, we need to start with nutrition – eat foods that burn belly fat:

  1. Beans such as e.g. kidney beans, lentils and black beans have the perfect balance of carbs and protein and they keep you full for hours.
  2. Leafy greens e.g. spinach, kale, cabbage, lettuce, Brussel sprouts boost your metabolism, are low in calories and high in fibre.
  3. Nuts and seeds like almonds, cashews, walnuts, chia seeds, sunflower and safflower seeds keep you full and healthy.  Protein can help you lose weight.
  4. Eggs will keep your hunger cravings in check so you will eat less and lose belly fat.
  5. Avocados are full of fibre which is fantastic for weight loss.  Avocados are full of really good fats and will assist in moving fat off your midriff.
  6. Berries e.g. blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and cranberries are packed full of vitamin C and fibre.  Fibre helps raise your metabolism helping you shed belly fat fast.

In summary:

  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day – 2.7 litres for women and 3.7 litres for mean.  
  • Read your food labels
  • Avoid trans fats also known as hydrogenated oils
  • Try to eliminate sugar out of your diet – 4 grams of sugar equates to one teaspoon.

Reasons why it is so difficult to lose belly fat:

Mediocre Workouts
The WHO (World Health Organisation) recommends that you get out at least 5 days per week to exercise for at least 30 minutes at a time.  However, if you think 30 minutes of slow walking 3 days a week is going to get rid of that belly fat – think again!  

To burn body fat you’ll need to add intensity and strength training to your routine - doing this will add muscle to your frame which will help burn more fat.  It will tone your muscles where they belong which helps your belly to look flatter.

Golden rule: "energy in, energy out". Getting rid of belly fat cannot be done through exercise alone. That means cutting out the processed foods, saturated fats, sugar and whatever is going to cause fat to be stored around them midriff region.

If your body isn’t burning off the fuel it has taken in, it’s going to go somewhere and your belly is a likely candidate.  Not drinking enough water is a sure recipe for storing belly fat.

When we get stressed a chemical called cortisol is released into the body which kicks or appetite into overdrive and makes it even more difficult for shed fat. The more we relax the greater chance we have of getting a flatter tummy.

Aging Process
 As we get older, our metabolism slows down and it gets harder to burn off calories but don’t think aging means you have to accept weight gain. By eating healthily and  working out right can help lose the belly fat.

Lack of sleep actually alters the way your brain works. This may make it harder to make healthy choices and resist tempting foods.  People who get poor sleep tend to consume more calories.

Kieran Keenan is an advanced personal trainer and the owner of Fitsquad.