“Abs get strong in the gym, and cut in the kitchen.” This phrase describes very well what you should do to get shredded. Doing a thousand crunches alone does not grow you a six-pack. If you want to get rid of belly fat, you have to change the way you eat. There are two kinds of belly fat. First, there’s subcutaneous fat, which is located under your skin but is relatively harmless. Then, there’s visceral fat, stored near several vital organs and associated with many health concerns. Visceral fat can increase your risk of non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, certain types of cancer, etc. So you see, you are not only benefiting your physical appearance, but also your health with ridding yourself from that belly fat. Here some tips on how to build your six-pack in the kitchen:
1: SET DAILY CALORIE INTAKE
Every serious diet strategy starts with this step, figuring out your daily calorie requirement. For your abs to appear you need to lose the body fat that is on top of them. To activate the fat-burning process, you must eat fewer calories than your body burns. Caloric deficit forces your body to use the energy stored in fat cells to compensate for the missing energy which results in reducing fat storages over time.
To find an approximate daily target calorie intake that ensures a decent caloric deficit for you, simply multiply your body weight with the corresponding multiplier below:
If you have an active lifestyle or you do work out regularly use this formula:
- Body Weight in pounds * 12 calories // Body Weight in kilograms * 26 calories
If you have a sedentary lifestyle use this formula:
- Body Weight in pounds * 10 calories // Body Weight in kilograms * 22 calories
For more accurate result follow this optimal caloric intake guide and then subtracts 250-750 calories off the number you get. Cut your calories gradually for long-lasting progress.
2: SET PROTEIN INTAKE
When you are trying to lose fat and get six-pack abs, your diet should be high in protein. High protein diet reduces the appetite and increases satiety when compared to a regular diet. Thus, reducing your chance of overeating and intake of the excess calories. By eating more protein, you will make it much easier to stick to the diet, and it can help prevent the muscle loss that may occur on calorie restrictive diets. The more muscle you have the greater your metabolism is. And a high protein diet raises your metabolism. Your body burns a little bit more calories to digest protein than other nutrients.
That being said, have about 25-50 grams of protein for every meal. Meat, fish, and eggs are great sources of food high in protein.
3: SET FAT INTAKE
It has been proven by science over the last years that healthy dietary fat promotes weight loss. Your body needs fats to function correctly. Fats are vital for the optimal functioning of your nervous system, hormones, brain, and cells. Fats are responsible for your heart, nail, and hair health as well.
Another benefit of dietary fats is a more controlled appetite. Fats as part of the meal slow down the digestion, thus keep your body's sugar level steady and providing satiety for a longer period of time. This helps to minimize the risk of consuming excessive calories. As you see, having the “right type” of fats in your diet is important and beneficial, but fats still get stored as fat more quickly than other nutrients, and they are more calorie dense as well. 1 gram of fat provides 9 calories while 1 gram of carbohydrate/protein provides 4 calories. For the purpose of this diet, limit your fat intake to only 5-10 grams per meal coming from the absolute healthiest sources such as extra virgin olive oil, fatty fish, avocado, nuts or fish oil. Split your total daily fat intake across all your meals, except pre-workout and post-workout meals to avoid hindering the absorption of the carbs and protein.
4: SET CARBOHYDRATE INTAKE
The right type of carbohydrates plays a significant role in optimal health and well-being. Carbs are the primary source of the energy supply for tissues and organs to perform their necessary functions. They are essential for optimal digestive health and brain functioning. Without carbs in your diet, you may feel physically and mentally fatigued. Carbohydrates rich in fiber make you feel fuller for longer and can help you control body weight.
On the other hand, too much of carbohydrates may cause weight gain because all the excess energy your body doesn’t use gets stored. That’s why carbs get bad rap, especially when it comes to the dieting. Therefore, following the diet plan you have to consume carbohydrates in moderation. You are allowed to eat unprocessed or minimally processed fibrous complex carbohydrates such as vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, and fruits. Avoid heavily processed carbohydrate sources like sugar, white grains or white flour as a plague.
5: SET LIQUID INTAKE
Your body needs water to burn calories efficiently. A lack of hydration slows down the fat-burning process. As you constantly lose fluids through sweat, exertion and bodily function you need to consume plenty of liquid regularly to stay well-hydrated. Also drinking liquids with a meal will make you feel full sooner thus reducing the chance of overeating.
The optimal amount of liquid will differ from person to person, 8 glasses of liquid daily for a sedentary person is a reasonable estimate. If you engage in physical activities, you probably need more than that. Liquids permitted are all types of unsweetened water, tea, and black coffee without sugar. All other liquids are not allowed on this diet plan.
Keeping It Real with Your Goals
As with most things in life, there isn’t one magical cure to melt away belly fat. It’s a factor of genetics and body shape, diet and exercise. Sleep and stress also contribute. But you don’t have to fear or dread the spread. “As you get older, your goals might shift, but they’re no less important!” Let’s get real. Maybe instead of wanting to look good in a bikini, you can focus on living a long and healthy life. Forget the comparisons, and focus on your overall health and wellness. Whittling down your waistline is just one bonus.