One of the most common weight loss questions is how long to lose belly fat. Body fat is essential for good health, protecting our internal organs, insulating the body in cold conditions, and acting as an emergency fuel tank when we urgently need energy.
However, too much fat around your belly can look unsightly and potentially cause health problems. In this situation, it’s understandable to ask the question- ‘how long does it take to lose belly fat?’ Unfortunately, there is no way to target fat loss specifically to your belly, for example, by doing lots of abdominal crunches. However, when you reduce your overall body fat, you will see the inches melt from your belly as well.
So, how long does it take to lose your stomach? This article will explain roughly how much time it will take to get rid of the extra chub around your middle and reveal some handy tips for losing belly fat as quickly as possible without compromising your health.
What Causes Too Much Belly Fat?
Belly fat is the fat held around your midsection. There are two types:
Visceral: The hard fat around your internal organs.
Subcutaneous: The soft fat located under your skin.
You can lose both kinds of belly fat by making changes to your lifestyle and eating habits. Before we answer the question ‘how fast can you lose stomach fat,’ it’s worth understanding why you have excess abdominal fat in the first place. Causes include:
- Eating too many calories and junk foods containing large amounts of sugar and trans fats
- Drinking a lot of alcohol
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Excessive stress levels
- Sleep deprivation
There’s also evidence to show that some people are genetically predisposed to be overweight or obese. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t lose belly fat if you are prone to storing excess body fat.
What Are the Dangers of Too Much Belly Fat?
Storing too much fat around your belly is linked to various serious health problems, and the hard visceral fat around your organs is far more dangerous than the soft subcutaneous fat that causes a muffin top over your jeans. If you have a waist measurement larger than 35 inches for females or 40 inches for females, you should consider taking steps to reduce your belly fat.
Visceral fat behaves like an organ, releasing hormones and other substances that increase your risk of various health problems. Everyone needs some visceral fat, but too much could be a ticking time bomb. Excessive visceral fat could lead to the following illnesses:
- Metabolic syndrome
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- Certain cancers, especially colorectal or breast cancer
- Premature death
Of course, many people are keen to shed both visceral belly fat and subcutaneous belly fat because they don’t like the appearance of a large belly. While this litany of health complaints makes for scary reading, the good news is that you can lose belly fat relatively quickly with a bit of effort and improve your health and appearance.
How Long Does It Take to Get Rid of Belly Fat?
Fat woman give up wearing her tight jeans with measuring tape around her belly, a concept to start diet
How long it takes to get rid of belly fat depends on various factors, including how overweight you are and your age and body type. To get a clearer picture of how long it takes to get rid of belly fat, you need to understand how cutting calories to lose fat works.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, the average person needs to cut 500-1,000 calories from their daily intake to lose 1-2 pounds of fat per week. This pace is generally accepted as safe and healthy, reducing body fat without leading to malnutrition or low energy levels. While it may be tempting to go on a crash diet to cut massive numbers of calories and lose belly fat as fast as possible, slow and steady is the best approach for long-term weight loss and good health.
Let’s illustrate this idea with an example. The average managed between 26-35 requires 2,600 calories per day to maintain their current weight, while a woman needs around 2,000. To lose 1-2 pounds, the man would have to cut his calories down by at least 500 calories to 2,100, and the woman would need to cut her intake to a maximum of 1,500. This is known as a calorie deficit.
You can achieve a calorie deficit by eating fewer calories, burning calories through physical activity, or combining the two.
However, it’s a little more complicated than this. The older you get, the fewer calories your body requires to maintain its current weight. For example, the average man needs to consume 2,800 calories per day at age 20 and just 2,200 per day over the age of 76.
Furthermore, your daily physical activity levels make a difference. All the figures above assume that each person is moderately active. If you are sedentary, you will need fewer calories than this to maintain your weight. Conversely, very active people need to eat more.
How tall you are and how overweight you are also make a difference. The taller or heavier you are, the more calories you need for weight maintenance. Therefore, it’s sensible to figure out how many calories you need based on your unique physical characteristics and lifestyle. The easiest way to do this is to use an online calculator from a reputable source and enter your height, weight, age, sex, and activity level. We recommend the Mayo Clinic’s online calculator here.
How Long Does It Take to Lose Stomach Fat with a Diet Plan?
If you want to lose belly fat, the first place to start is to look at your diet. Let’s assume that you have done a caloric needs calculation and found that you need 2,200 calories every day to stay at your current weight. Reducing your calorie intake to 1,700 calories (a deficit of 500 calories) will allow you to lose between 1-2 pounds of fat per week.
You’ll lose this fat from all over your body, not just from your belly. Therefore, how long to get rid of belly fat depends on how much weight you have to lose. If you are only a few pounds overweight, you could wave goodbye to your podgy belly in as little as a month.
However, if you are significantly overweight or obese, you’ll need to stick at it for far longer. Don’t be disheartened because you’ll start to reduce your risk of obesity and overweight-related diseases by losing just 5-10% of your body weight. Achieving this goal could help spur you on to continue your weight loss journey and get rid of your gut for good.
So, now you know how many calories to cut to lose belly fat, how do you go about it? Here are some simple methods that everyone who’s ever asked the question ‘how long does it take to lose lower belly fat?’ should know.
- Calculate how much you eat using a calorie-counting app
- Plan your meals and snacks around your daily calorie target
- Use oil-free cooking methods whenever possible such as grilling or steaming
- Choose reduced-fat cheese and yogurt
- Reduce fast foods and processed ingredients as much as possible
- Prepare your own meals at home, so you know exactly what you’re putting in
- Cut out sugary sodas and hot beverages containing syrups and cream
- Check the calorie content of restaurant meals before ordering
- Weigh your portions or use measuring scoops
- Focus your diet on nutritious, low-calorie foods such as vegetables and lean protein
However, we favor one diet plan over all others for losing belly fat as quickly as possible. In the next section, we’ll reveal our top-rated diet for speedy belly fat loss.
How Long Does It Take to Lose Lower Belly Fat with a Ketogenic Diet?
Ketogenic diets are our favorite eating plans for losing belly fat as fast as possible because they can help you lose more weight than simply eating a reduced-calorie diet or a traditional high-carb, low-fat weight-loss plan.
Furthermore, a recent study found that a diet very low in carbohydrates like a ketogenic diet can result in more fat loss from around the abdomen in older people. While it’s unclear whether younger populations also get this benefit, it’s worth considering it as a healthy way to lose belly fat.
Ketogenic diets contain plenty of healthy unsaturated fat, lean protein, and vegetables. However, they significantly restrict your carbohydrate intake to just 20-50g per day. Eating keto may also reduce feelings of hunger, making it easier to stick to. However, bear in mind that you should still ensure you don’t exceed your daily weight loss calorie target if you want to use the keto diet to lose belly fat.
As weight loss involves multiple factors, it’s impossible to say precisely how fast you’ll lose belly fat. However, by combining a calorie deficit as described in the previous section with a low-carb diet, you should lose at least 1-2 pounds of fat from all over your body per week and possibly more.
You can plan your own ketogenic meals yourself, but this requires time, effort, and knowledge. Many people find it easier to purchase a specialized ketogenic diet plan to reduce hassle. Our favorite is Weight Loss Evolved because it is doctor-approved and customizable to your unique requirements. It also comes with an exercise plan to help you maximize belly fat loss.
How Long Does It Take to Lose Belly Fat with Weight Loss Supplements?
If you’re obese, your doctor may prescribe you powerful weight loss medications such as phentermine to help you lose belly fat. However, if you don’t qualify for prescription medications or are concerned about potential side effects, there are plenty of over-the-counter alternatives.
Many weight loss supplements offer the following benefits:
- Increasing fat-burning rate
- Decreasing appetite
- Boosting energy levels
- Reducing emotional overeating by minimizing stress and anxiety symptoms
Ideally, a multi-purpose supplement that offers all four of these benefits is the most cost-effective way to lose belly fat as fast as possible. Individual results vary, and you can’t use weight loss supplements as an alternative to a weight loss diet and exercise. However, using them as an additional helping hand can help you lose belly fat a little faster.
You don’t need a prescription to buy weight loss supplements, and they are straightforward to buy online and in many supermarkets, pharmacies, and health stores. However, make sure that you purchase supplements from a reputable retailer and check the reviews and safety information of any product you’re considering. We never recommend buying supplements from unknown sellers on sites like eBay because you could end up with fake, ineffective, or even harmful pills. You can find a list of our favorite safe and effective weight loss supplements here.
While the weight loss supplements recommended by Weight Loss Speech are generally safe for most adults, it’s essential to make sure they’re safe for your health status. If you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or aged under 18, you should steer clear of over-the-counter weight loss supplements and ask your doctor for advice about your weight. People with pre-existing health conditions or those taking regular medication should also seek approval from a healthcare professional before taking non-prescription supplements.
How Long Does It Take to Lose Belly Fat with Exercise?
If you don’t want just to lose belly fat but want to achieve a tight, toned midriff, you may be asking yourself- how long does it take to lose belly fat and get abs? If your tum looks flabby, there are two leading causes:
1. Too much body fat stored around your belly
2. Untoned abdominal muscles
Both of these issues need to be addressed to get a toned, taut stomach. If you tone your muscles, but they’re covered with a thick layer of fat, you won’t see the results you want. Similarly, you can have a low body fat percentage but still have a flabby tummy if your muscles are slack.
We’ve already explained that the only way to lose belly fat is to reduce your overall body fat percentage. While lowering your calorie intake by 500-1000 calories can help you lose 1-2 pounds of body fat per week, you can increase your calorie deficit for faster weight loss by burning calories through exercise.
If you want to burn as many calories as possible and maximize fat loss, we recommend considering HIIT workouts. This exercise style involves exercising intensely for short periods interspersed with rests. There’s evidence to show that this training style can help you burn more calories than traditional aerobic workouts.
Abdominal toning exercises like crunches and sit-ups won’t help you lose fat on your belly in particular, but they burn calories and help you lose weight all over your body. However, toning exercises can tighten your abs and give you a tight, flat tummy providing you lose any excess belly fat as well.
However, you don’t have to be a dedicated gym bunny to lose belly fat through exercise. If you don’t have the time to devote to daily workouts or have a low fitness level, there are plenty of ways to build extra activity into your day and burn more calories to lose belly fat.
As we mentioned above, a sedentary lifestyle is a leading cause of excess belly fat and means that you can eat fewer calories before you start gaining weight. If you spend most of your day sitting, it’s essential to do what you can to get more active. Some ideas include:
- Walking to the shops, work, or social engagements whenever possible
- Parking as far away as possible from the shops or your office
- Taking your dog for more walks or borrowing a friend’s dog
- Taking a swim a few times a week
- Using the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator
- Setting an alarm every hour to get up and have a short walk around your working space
- Using one of the short workout videos on YouTube to get a quick exercise session into your day
- Spend some of your leisure time hiking or cycling in nature with friends and family
Q: What exercise burns the most belly fat?
A: Any exercise that raises your heart rate is suitable for burning body fat, including belly fat. However, HIIT workouts are one of the best ways to burn belly fat as quickly as possible. While abdominal exercises won’t target fat loss to your belly, they can tighten your muscles and give you a slimmer, more toned waistline.
Q: How hard is it to lose belly fat?
A: It’s objectively harder to lose beta fat cells than alpha fat cells. As you have more beta fat cells around your tummy, it’s more challenging to lose fat from your belly than some other body parts. However, if you reduce your overall body fat percentage consistently using diet and exercise, you will eventually lose that stubborn belly fat.
Q: Is it easy to lose stomach fat?
A: It’s relatively easy to lose stomach fat if you stick consistently to a low-calorie diet and exercise plan. Eating a ketogenic diet and taking a fat-burning supplement can also help. While belly fat tends to be harder to lose than fat around your arms and face, you can shift it with a bit of effort.
Q: What will burn belly fat fast?
A: The best ways to burn belly fat fast are to eat a reduced-calorie, ketogenic diet and do HIIT-style workouts. You can also add a weight loss supplement to speed up your results.
Q: Where do you lose fat first?
A: When you start losing weight, you lose the hard visceral fat around your organs first. After a while, you’ll begin to lose the soft subcutaneous fat under your skin as well.
Q: How can I have a flat tummy?
A: You need to reduce your body fat percentage and tighten your abdominal muscles to achieve a flat tummy. We recommend combining a ketogenic diet, weight loss supplements, HIIT workouts, and abdominal exercises like crunches to get a flat stomach fast.
Q: How can I lose my belly fat without exercise?
A: You can lose your belly fat without exercise by reducing your calorie intake by at least 500 calories a day. Taking a fat-burning supplement can also help you lose weight faster, including from around your belly. However, exercise will help you lose weight quicker, so it’s best to get more active if possible. It will also improve your overall health and wellbeing.
The Bottom Line
Hopefully, you now know how long it takes to lose belly fat. You can reduce your body fat percentage and, therefore, your chubby belly by creating a daily calorie deficit of at least 500 calories. This method allows you to lose around 1-2 pounds of fat, although you can lose a bit more if you add exercise and a weight loss supplement to your routine.
How long it takes to transform your belly from flabby to flat depends on various factors, including your age, your height, your activity levels, and how much weight you have to lose. If your body fat percentage is only a little on the high side, you can lose a substantial amount of belly fat in a matter of weeks. However, people who are carrying a significantly higher than average amount of belly fat will need to stick with it for longer.
The advice in this article is safe and suitable for most adults in reasonably good health. However, some people may need more tailored support. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding and are concerned about the amount of belly fat you have, you should get advice specific to your situation from your obstetrician or family doctor.
People with health conditions such as diabetes or heart disease should talk to their primary care provider, especially before taking over-the-counter supplements. The advice for under-18s who want to lose weight is different from the recommendation for adults, so you should get guidance from a pediatrician to formulate a diet and exercise plan suitable for minors.