How to Lose 12 Pounds of Belly Fat

How to Lose 12 Pounds of Belly Fat

Losing fat off just your belly is not possible, since weight loss doesn't work that way. If you want to lose belly fat, you have to lose fat overall, and do exercises that will tone your belly and make it look flatter. Losing 12 lbs. will take between six and 12 weeks if you lose 1 to 2 lbs. per week which is an ideal goal, according to the Mayo Clinic. This means cutting your weekly calorie intake by 3,500 to 7,000 calories -- or 500 to 1,000 calories per day. Your best bet is to do this with a combination of diet and exercise.

Diet

Step 1:
Fill up on fruits and vegetables. These foods have few calories but plenty of nutrients, especially fiber. This means you will feel full after eating a regular portion, but you won't have consumed a lot of calories and won't be bloated. Whenever you are hungry and crave a snack, eat a fruit or vegetable before choosing anything else.

Step 2:
Include protein at every meal. Protein is the ideal fuel for your muscles, and it makes you feel more full after a meal, so you are less likely to crave a snack later or eat too much at your next meal. Choose lean sources of protein such as fish, chicken breast, lean beef or beans. Cook them without a lot of fat, and add flavorful low calorie garnishes such as fresh salsa or a mustard sauce.

Step 3:
Reduce your intake of carbohydrates. One serving of bread is one slice, and a serving of a flake cereal is just 1 cup. If you have cereal and toast for breakfast plus a sandwich for lunch, you've had four servings already, and it's not even dinner time. Most people wanting to lose belly fat should limit themselves to five servings or fewer per day. Make sure they're all whole grain, not white -- and add lean protein and vegetables to fill you up.

Step 4:
Reduce your fat intake. One tablespoon of butter has about 100 calories, so reducing your fat intake can go a long way toward helping you lose belly fat. Try reduced fat salad dressings, sour cream and mayonnaise, and add fresh veggies and lower fat spreads such as mustard, to sandwiches.

Step 5:
Eliminate empty calories from your diet. Sugary treats such as cookies and cakes, soda, and salty snacks such as chips and pretzels have no place in your diet if you want to lose belly fat. They are calorie dense and in many cases high in fat, so these are the first things you should avoid to lose weight.

Exercise

Step 1:
Work out every day, doing some form of cardiovascular exercise. Walking, running, cycling or anything that gets your heart rate up will burn calories and help you lose belly fat.

Step 2:
Lift weights two to three times per week to build muscle. Work out all of your muscle groups, and rest at least one day in between workouts so your muscles can recover. It is during this rest time that they grow and get stronger.

Step 3:
Do crunches. Lay on your back with your knees bent, and lift your head and shoulders in one steady motion. Lower yourself and repeat. Aim to do three sets of 10 repetitions. Add a twist to each side at the top of your crunch to work your oblique abdominal muscles on the sides of your body.

Step 4:
Do the plank. Lay on the floor on your stomach and push yourself up into a pushup position, so you're on your toes and hands with your arms extended. Hold this position for as long as you can, making sure you breathe the whole time. This will strengthen all of your abdominal muscles.