Even in the absence of excess body weight, belly fat plagues many people, thanks to a combination of factors that make losing a belly bulge seem nearly impossible. Luckily, this isn’t the case.

Although there are lots of factors that affect your body depositing fat. Nutrition and exercise are the two most potent and easy to change components. While many discouraged people tend to attribute stubborn fat as a fault of genetics, family patterning and genetic effects are very small in comparison to the effect of long-term, consistent diet and exercise.


Wondering what you can do in the kitchen to help slim your midsection?


First thing’s first...do you need to lose weight?

For most women, any excess weight is stored in the abdomen, because it is the area where it’s most easily mobilized during high-intensity exercise. Remember that our bodies haven’t changed much throughout evolution: in times of famine, the body relied on fat stores, and those fat stores needed to be mobilized easily for intense exercise to catch prey and relieve famine. In modern times, the body still tends to store fat in this way.


While a combination of exercise and diet is the most appropriate and effective means to combat abdominal fat, what you eat- and specifically how many calories you eat- plays the most potent role in body weight. Calories above all determine weight outcome and the likelihood of storing extra fat anywhere.


If you need to lose weight, reducing the number of calories you consume is the most important component in weight management. If you’re trying to lose, allow 10-11 Calories per 1 lb goal weight. BUT don’t just reduce your calories and eat the same foods - look for nutritionally dense, low calorie foods like leafy green vegetables, and avoid the high calorie things like white bread and cakes. It’s about eating properly, not just eating less.


Don’t need to lose weight?

If you don’t need to lose weight and are simply hoping to slim and tone your midsection at your current weight, exercise becomes an even more important component of your routine. Nutrition, however, still plays a vital role.

A diet containing processed or refined carbohydrates and starches (white bread, white rice, pasta, potatoes), high-sugar beverages including fruit and vegetable juices (yes, even 100% natural, no sugar added fruit juice or juice and veggie blends), snack foods, is one that is more likely to cause high levels of abdominal fat.

Whenever a food containing carbs is quickly metabolized, the units of sugar are broken down and enter the bloodstream very quickly. The body, in an attempt to rid the bloodstream of excess sugar, converts that sugar to fat, where it is primarily stored in (you guessed it!) the abdomen.


To put this in perspective, 1 cup of steamed white rice contains 200 calories, while 1 cup of boiled spinach contains 41 calories and contains far more nutrients and vitamins to keep you full for longer. The worst part? White rice is quickly broken down, as mentioned above, so you won’t even feel full for very long and will be reaching for snacks in no time!


To tip the odds in your favor, your diet should be based on lean proteins, non-starchy vegetables, whole fruit, lowfat and nonfat dairy, whole grains in moderation, and healthy fats.