Have you ever tried to do 100 situps a day to get rid of unwanted belly fat or to tone ab muscle? You probably found out the hard way that it doesn’t work. Trying to “spot reduce” or lose weight in only a particular spot is impossible— it’s simply not the way the body works.
Understanding how to lose belly fat requires a holistic approach that includes diet and exercise for the best results. If you’re tired of belly fat and want a lean and contoured midsection, this guide is for you.
Why the tummy?
You’re probably wondering how that fat got there in the first place. In teen girls, fluctuating hormones can increase the estrogen level in the body, depositing fat in all kinds of places we don’t want. Unfortunately, this usually includes the tummy area.
In other cases, diet can be the culprit. When the body takes in more fat than it needs for energy, it stores it for later. The result is sometimes a belly that is a bit rounder than most girls like. There is, however, good news. With a few lifestyle changes, you can get rid of belly fat and enjoy a body you will love.
We have developed a four-step system that will outline exactly how to tackle belly fat and get rid of it for good. We must, however, offer this disclaimer. In some cases, belly fat can indicate a medical problem that home remedies can’t solve. It’s best to consult your doctor for advice before embarking on any significant lifestyle change. This guide is not to be taken as medical advice.
Part 1 – Setting Realistic Goals & Plan
The first step we take is setting goals that you can realistically achieve. You won’t lose the abdominal fat overnight. Set a date for when you want to meet your goal. Make small milestones that you can celebrate as you see progress. It may take a few months of dietary and physical activity changes to reach your goal, so remember that you have to keep working at it and stay consistent.
Focus on Improving Health and Increasing Fitness
Start thinking about overall lifestyle changes rather than a number on a scale or a pair of jeans. The magic formula for losing weight is that if you take in fewer than your body needs to survive, you will lose weight. If you take in more than you need, the excess fat will show up on your body, belly for sure. If you keep this formula in mind, you will start losing weight automatically.
You will need to track how many calories you are eating daily. You can do this using a notebook. You can also sign up with an online calorie tracker that will allow you to search for your food and easily track your eating. In the beginning, it will be challenging to know how many calories you will need to eat. By using a tracker, you will quickly figure it out.
Don’t Compare Your Progress With Others
While you’re on your weight loss journey, it can be tempting to see other teenagers’ bodies and progress and compare them with your own. Your favorite Instagram influencer may have what seems to be the “perfect” body, making you feel sad about your own. Maybe you have a friend who can eat whatever she wants and never gain weight.
It can be hard not to let other people’s bodies influence the way you feel about yourself. Remember that you can control how much you lose and how you make the right changes in your life. You are competing to be the best version of yourself, not to look like anyone else.
Pick the Right Role Models
Many teenage girls want to look like runway models who have seemingly “perfect” bodies. Many girls don’t realize that some of these models are expected to take drastic measures to enjoy this physique. They may engage in dangerous behavior like starving themselves or taking pills to control their weight.
Choose role models who have lost weight and transformed their bodies by embarking on healthy lifestyles and developing good habits. One such inspirational person is country singer Lauren Alaina. Lauren signed up for a guest appearance on the popular show, Dancing With the Stars, and after months of regular dance practice and exercise, she was able to lose 25 pounds and enjoy a transformed new body.
Kelly Osborne, who had always been bullied about her weight, recently embarked on a new eating regimen and lost 50 pounds. She reported cutting out sugar, unhealthy fats, and high-fat foods and working out with a trainer three times a week.
How Long Will it Take?
It took time to gain the extra belly fat that you’re trying to lose. It will take time to lose it as well. Reducing weight in one spot is not possible. When you start to lose weight, you will see the change all over the body—on your face, arms, legs, back, and stomach. It will take time to start to see results, but you will gradually begin to feel different.
One way to keep on your journey even when progress is slow is to look for non-scale victories or NSVs. These are victories that are not reflected on the scale or with your actual weight. Instead, but you will enjoy lifestyle changes in general. Some common NSVs include increased energy, the ability to fit smaller clothes, feeling happier, making better food choices, or decreased cravings for unhealthy foods.
In the first month of your new lifestyle changes, you will probably drop 2-4 pounds in the first week, as this is a new change for the body. You will also see a reduction in the size of your waist.
The key here is consistency. In the beginning, you may lose a large amount of weight or very little. Keep up your routine, even if you don’t see results right away.
By following our plan below, you will start to feel a change in your body within the week, and you’ll begin to see physical results within one month.
Make Small Changes
Many teen girls start a new diet plan and say, “I’m going only to eat carrots and drink water and work out for three hours every day!” They usually give up after a few weeks or even days as these drastic changes are hard to keep up. In your lifestyle change, start with small changes that are easy to stick to. A few easy changes that you can make include:
- Cutting out a few calories each day, like eating your bagel with low-fat butter instead of regular butter or switching to oatmeal instead of pancakes for breakfast
- Switching from full sugar drinks to diet drinks or low calories drinks
- Not eating after dinner
- Cutting out one snack per day
- Taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work
- Eating your sandwiches without cheese and mayo
- Eating baked chips instead of regular fried chips with your lunch
- Adding an extra serving of veggies to your dinner
Part 2 – Your Belly Fat Loss Plan
Don’t Stress–Relax and Sleep More.
There are so many stressors in the average teen girl’s life, from homework to friends, chores, and activities. Stress is a major contributor to weight gain and can make it harder for you to lose belly fat. Stress ignites a hormone in the body called cortisol, and cortisol makes your body hold on to fat. So learning to relax and release tension will aid in your fat loss goals.
It is impossible to eliminate stress–it’s simply a part of life. You can, however, manage it. Think about the last time you were stressed and what caused it. Was it a school project? A problem with a friend? Those are your triggers to look out for. When the brain is stressed, you may feel increased cravings for junk food.
Instead of reaching for a bag of chips when you feel stressed, try going for a walk. Maybe a jog around the block. If that’s not possible, stop and remind yourself that you are stressed and this moment will pass. It helps to think of techniques to get you through stressful periods while you’re not worried.
Also, it helps to get adequate rest. Studies have shown that teenagers and adults who get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep per night weigh less than sleep-deprived people. So get your rest.
Don’t Starve Yourself or Skip Meals.
Some girls will try to skip meals and starve themselves to lose weight, but this is counter-productive. The body will work harder to hang onto extra fat instead of burning it off. Starving yourself increases the body’s cortisol level (remember what we said about stress?) and makes it harder for you to lose weight.
Instead of drastically restricting your calories, eat the recommended daily amount (between 1,800-2,000 for most teenage girls) but make healthier food choices instead.
And most importantly, don’t skip breakfast.
Have a Healthy Breakfast
You may have heard the phrase, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Breakfast gives your metabolism a jumpstart and helps you burn more calories throughout the day. The key here is to make breakfast count. A high protein and complex carbohydrate breakfast will fuel your body and keep you full until lunch.
Avoid breakfast choices that are high in sugar or processed carbs. Sugary cereals, donuts, waffles, and fast food sandwiches will wreck your diet and cause you to have a mid-morning energy slump.
Try oatmeal with almonds, chia seeds, and blueberries or protein-packed scrambled eggs with a side of toast. Greek yogurt with added fresh fruit and nuts is also a good choice.
Avoid Fad Diets That Promises Quick Weight Loss
There are so many diets on the market that promise to help you lose drastic amounts of weight with no effort. They may tell you only to eat a certain food or to cut your caloric intake to nothing at all. These diets will do more harm than good, damaging your metabolism over time.
You may lose weight temporarily, but as soon as you start eating normally again (I mean, can you eat only lemons for the rest of your life), the weight will come back. Experts recommend slow and consistent weight loss for the best results.
Cut Down on Sugar, Processed Foods, and Diet Food
Sugar will wreck your diet. Think of it as your mortal enemy. Unfortunately, there is sugar in a lot of foods, making them hard to avoid. The apparent culprits—soda, cookies, candy—are easy to avoid. The more challenging part is cutting out the hidden sugars you find in bread, cereals, milk, and even fresh fruit.
It pays to research the sugar content in your favorite foods and make efforts to cut down on them. Try naturally sweet snacks like dates, blueberries, and apples.
Processed foodstuff like chips, crackers, and French fries are low in nutrients and high in calories. These convenience foods are easy to pick up and eat but don’t keep you full, so you have to continue eating them, hurting your progress. Try packing your own healthy snacks like fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, and cheeses.
Avoid diet-foods in your quest for a flat belly. While they may seem healthy, they are often loaded with extra fat, artificial sweeteners, and chemicals. Stick to unprocessed, fresh foods, and avoid “diet” foods.
How do some teenage girls have flat stomachs if they don’t eat so healthy?
We get that question a lot. It is not uncommon to see teenage girls who eat tons of junk food yet remain “skinny”. The reason is usually the combination or one of the following factors:
- They are physically very active
- They have high metabolism due to genetics
Remember, not gaining weight is not necessarily equal to being healthy. A mentioned above, eating junk food will lead to many side effects and health deterioration in the long run. Why damage your health when you can eat better food and feel energetic?
Watch What You Drink
Sugary drinks are everywhere—from sodas to sweetened teas, your favorite coffee drinks to fruit juices. Sugary drinks will wreck your diet, as they are filled with empty calories that add weight but not nutrients. One can of soda contains 150 calories. Drinking one of these per day will pack weight on you.
Some of your favorite coffee drinks and milkshakes can have up to 500 calories. Stick to water or unsweetened beverages to stick to your weight loss goals. One trick is to eat your high protein meal before you drink so that you’re full and won’t suffer the sugar cravings.
Plan Your Meal – Hack Your Way into Fat Loss
Choose What You Eat
You may be tempted to eat the lowest calorie meal possible, but there is a better way. Choose one with high in nutrient content—fiber and protein are the two heavy hitters you want on your team. High fiber and protein keep you full longer and deliver more nutrients to the body.
They also help you to avoid snacking on foods that will wreck your diet. Raw edible vegetables, fish, lean meat, fruits, and nuts are excellent additions to your diet. Avoid deep-fried foods or those that are high in fat for the best results.
Eat More Frequently
Instead of eating two or three large meals a day, eat three main meals and three healthy snacks. Eating small quantities of healthy food means you never have to feel hungry between meals. Eating small meals will also help to prevent you from overeating and feeling bloated. Use a small plate for your meals.
Not only will this help with portion control, but it will also trick your brain into thinking you’re eating a full meal.
Fill up Your Refrigerator
If there are no unhealthy foods in the house, you can’t eat them when you get a craving. Ask your parents to fill your refrigerator with healthy snacks like dried fruit, yogurt, and nuts so that you can grab something good when you get that hunger kick. Get rid of the unhealthy food in the fridge, and you’re halfway there!
Prevent Overeating with Mindful Eating
It is easy to overeat if you eat while distracted. If you’re chatting with friends, watching tv, or using your phone while you eat, it can be easy to keep eating when you’re full. Try to eat slower, chewing every bite, and being conscious of how much you’re eating.
Cut Down TV Time
Watching TV, Netflix, or YouTube can hinder your weight loss goals. Sitting for long periods can add more fat to your midsection, slowing your metabolism and causing you to make unhealthy snack choices. Cut back your TV and increase your physical activity for the best results.
Increase Physical Activity
Get out and get active to burn fat. Running, jogging, playing sports, strength training, dancing, and biking are all excellent activities that will aid in your weight loss and tone your muscle. You can recruit a few friends for even more fun, but don’t be discouraged if you have to tackle your workouts alone. Find a fun activity that you can stick to and consistently engage in it every day.
Part 3 – Find Support
Find Friends with Common Goals
Having social support is essential when it comes to meeting your goals. You are more likely to stick to your new habits if you have supportive friends who are also embarking on a weight loss journey. Ask your friends if they are also trying to lose weight. They may want to join you in your workouts or grocery shop with you.
You can also join an activity group, meetup, or fitness class to find other teenagers or adults on the same path.
Get Family to Support
Talk to your parents and family and let them know what you’re doing. They will be key to your success, helping you make healthy choices and filling the fridge with the healthy foods you need.
Part 4 – Measure Your Progress
Have a Schedule
You are more likely to stick to your plan if have one in the first place.
Plan your meals, so you don’t have to think of what you’re going to eat throughout the week. Make a schedule that includes your meals, snacks, and workout routines. This will help you to prevent making impulsive food choices.
Track Your Weight & Fat Loss
Track your weight regularly to stay motivated to reach your goals. Weigh yourself and measure your waist each week. Keep track of your progress and keep working toward your goals. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see drastic fat loss right away. This is normal.
Losing the belly fat and the extra weight will give you both a health and a self-esteem boost. Enjoying a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise and good food will enhance your life. Remember that healthy doesn’t always mean fitting a smaller size. It can mean increased energy, a healthier heart, and longer life.
With your new healthier habits, you will enjoy a fitter body that you can be proud of for the rest of your life.