6 tips for women to get rid of belly fat and keep it off

Every woman is beautifully unique in her own way. But one thing almost every woman despises? The dreaded, unwanted belly fat. She is usually uninvited and very stubborn about leaving. Who wants this kind of company? If the answer is a difficult “not me,” be prepared to take some notes. Eat This, Not That! I got the scoop from Mike Ball, MD, MPH, ALM, a member of our medical expert board and a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach who helped develop The Body at Ro. With his help, we’re here with six great tips for women to lose belly fat and keep it off.

As a woman ages, muscle mass decreases and fat increases. The Mayo Clinic explains that belly fat is especially common, which is caused by low levels of the hormone estrogen. Results? Women usually gain extra weight around their waistline. In the winter especially, you’re likely to be stuck indoors and less active, which doesn’t help the situation. But spring is in the air, which means you might be inspired to work on losing belly fat — and keeping it off forever.

Ahead, Dr. Buhl offers six rules to weave into your lifestyle. Keep in mind that consistency with any exercise plan is key to achieving results. So, if you’re ready, let’s get started — and then, don’t miss these 5 Ab-Toning Exercises to Look Younger and Fitter in Your 40s.

1. Get your cardio routine on board.

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Cardio can and should be your best friend. Dr. Pohl explains, “When it comes to losing weight and keeping it off, a solid fitness routine is key.”

And research supports this. According to a study conducted by Duke University Medical Center, doing exercise is the most productive way to get rid of belly fat which poses a major health risk.

There are many ways to do cardio, and you can easily spend your workout time with a friend. Dr. Buhl suggests containing some for at least five days each week.

2. Perform strength exercises regularly.

Mature women weightlifting, tips concept for women to lose belly fat
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Strength training is another crucial component of your exercise regimen when it comes to losing weight. “Strength training burns calories while you’re at the gym and while you’re recovering at home. If you’re looking to look toned, strength training is the way to get there,” says Dr. Ball.

3. Eat foods rich in protein.

Adding lean protein to your meals is an excellent way to feel full without consuming too many extra calories. Dr. Paul points out, “Lean proteins — such as chicken, fish, and plant proteins — are an excellent source of nutrition and will pair well with strength training.”

4. Maintain a diet of healthy carbohydrates and fats.

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Weight loss is generally associated with a calorie deficit. You have to eat fewer calories than you burn.

Dr. Ball tells us, “There’s been a lot of research on whether a low-carb or low-fat diet is better for weight loss… When designing your meal, rather than focusing on carbs versus fat, just focus on eating healthy versions of both.” Healthy carbs include whole grains, and healthy fats include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

If you’re wondering which carbs are the healthiest options to support your weight-loss efforts, the UPMC Health Beat explains that vegetables, fruits, and whole grains are all solid choices, as they’re full of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. And when it comes to healthy fats, “good” unsaturated fats — also known as the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats Dr. Pohl referred to — include foods like fish, nuts, seeds and vegetable oils, according to the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.

5. Plan a “cheat” day each week.

You might be surprised to hear that cheat days are totally fine now and then. It’s also a very important way to make sure that you keep the weight off once you’ve taken it off.

“The best diet is one that you actually stick to, and if you don’t allow yourself flexibility, you might give up on it completely. So, if you really want sustained weight loss, don’t worry about ‘breaking the rules’ here and there. As long as you are, in general, Stick to the set routine, you’ll be happy with the results,” assures Dr. Buhl.

6. Discuss your weight loss goals with your doctor.

Losing weight is about maintaining a solid diet and exercising routine. “But medical science also understands how important individual physiology is in a weight situation, too. If you feel like you’re doing all the right things to lose weight but they’re not working, talk to your doctor,” Dr. Pohl.

Your doctor may be able to discuss medications that may be effective in helping you achieve permanent weight loss.

Alexa Melardo

Alexa is the deputy editor of Mind + Body at Eat This, Not That!, and oversees the M+B channel and introduces fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa