The secret to success in melting fat is the synergy between a lower calorie diet and more energy expenditure.
“If you just go on a low-calorie diet, you’re going to lose mostly subcutaneous fat. But if you do physical activity, you will especially lose visceral fat, ”says Prof. Martine Duclos, head of the sports medicine department, Clermont-Ferrand University Hospital.
Move around to melt the fat around the belly
When exercising, the body secretes hormones like adrenaline and norepinephrine which will stimulate fat cells. The belly fat is very sensitive to these messages, more than the one that clings to the thighs or buttocks. She will react by activating the lipolysis – the emptying of these adipose cells -, helping to melt fat.
The right pace: to be effective, you have to work in endurance to draw on energy reserves, so burn fat; and strengthen his muscles to pump glucose and lipids. Goal: at least 30 minutes of physical activity, five times a week, divided between cardio and weight training.
- To strengthen muscles, Emily Martineau, regional technical manager at the French Federation of Physical Education and Voluntary Gymnastics (sport-sante.fr), recommends Pilates, gentle gymnastics, excellent for abs. Classes last one hour (twice 30 minutes).
- To work on endurance, it offers brisk walking, running, or swimming at a pace sufficient to be slightly short of breath. And to eliminate as much fat as possible, our coach suggests getting into HIIT (high-intensity interval training) in the form of short but intense exercises. For example, 30 seconds of sprinting, then 30 seconds of jogging; or at the pool, 30 seconds of full breaststroke, then 30 seconds of leisurely backstroke. We keep the pace for at least 10 minutes.
If you are more athletic: two Pilates sessions + a series of HIIT or jogging. If you are more sedentary: a Pilates session + a HIIT session or brisk walking or jogging.
“If we follow the program seriously, the first results should be seen after a month, on the scale and in the waistline,” says Emily Martineau. Do not be discouraged if at any point you feel like you are stagnating. “To get rid of a sticky bead, increase cardio sessions. Do more weight training if you want to see your abs stand out, ”Emily advises.
Before getting back to the sport, it may be useful to do a stress test, especially if you are a man over 45 or a woman over 55 and have a personal or family history of cardiovascular disease. This is for your doctor to judge.
What if we don’t like sport? The simple act of walking at a moderate pace initiates a favorable metabolic process. Walk in the forest, travel by bike, take the stairs … Everything is good!
The right foods to destock around the belly
It is not a question of embarking on a draconian diet but of reducing calories to keep only the most useful.
- Slow sugars to avoid the insulin spike: when sugary products are consumed, the body secretes more insulin, which contributes to the storage of fat. Slow sugars, such as whole grains, limit this phenomenon.
- Fiber to slow the assimilation of sugar: “Eaten alone, pasta and rice trigger a spike in insulin. To avoid these disturbances, you must add fiber: 20 to 30 grams per day, ”recalls Damien Galtier, dietitian. For this, we supplement with fruits and vegetables at will.
- Proteins to build muscle: “lean” proteins are found in fish, certain meats (chicken, etc.), whole grains and pulses.
- Less fat but better chosen: we limit butter, cheese and cold meats to favor vegetable fats rich in omega-3 fatty acids: walnut oils, rapeseed …
- Reduce your alcohol consumption: “In men, fat overload in the belly is often associated with excessive alcohol consumption,” explains Damien Galtier. Very high in calories, alcohol must be limited to a maximum of three glasses of wine per day for men, two for women.
- Forget about sodas : a 33 cl can is eight lumps of sugar that will be stored as fat. The CT scan shows a greater volume of abdominal fat in people who drink several sodas per day.
- No plastic in the kitchen: avoid reheating food in the microwave in a plastic container. The risk would be to release endocrine disruptors such as phthalates or bisphenol A (banned since January 2015).
The typical menu of the day to lose weight in the stomach
For Damien Galtier, this diet is suitable for both men and women. The amounts can be adapted according to the level of physical activity.
- For breakfast: 1 drink to hydrate yourself G 1 piece of wholemeal bread spread with 1 knob of margarine rich in omega-3 G 1 slice of low-fat ham or 1 cottage cheese G 1 fruit
- At lunch: 1 plate made up of 1/3 lean meat or fish; 1/3 green vegetables; 1/3 of starches (pasta, rice, potatoes, semolina …); 1 dairy and / or 1 fruit according to its hunger
- As a snack: 1 dairy or 1 fruit
- For dinner: 1 starter of raw vegetables or 1 hot or cold soup; fish or seafood or 1 lean meat or 2 hard-boiled eggs; green vegetables; 1 slice of wholemeal bread; 1 yogurt or 1 compote without sugar