Where would you most like to lose body fat? From your belly? Your butt? Your thighs? Your low back, hips, waist, double chin, cankles… everywhere? If you ask most people, even those who are pretty body positive, there are parts of their bodies they wish they could change. Places they’d like to slim down, tone up, or otherwise improve. If only there were some long-kept fat-loss secrets revealed…
Yet, it’s no secret that precise, targeted fat loss (i.e., spot reduction) isn’t possible. It’s also no secret that every single body is different. And many of us are predisposed to hold body fat in certain areas over others.
The key to fat loss isn’t about a “targeted approach.” Rather, it’s about promoting fat loss from everywhere on the body. However, for even more noticeable results, you can focus on building specific muscles via exercise, which can help reshape the body, ultimately making the whole body look leaner, firmer, and more toned.
Fat-Loss Secrets Revealed
At the end of the day, there are no big secrets on how to lose body fat everywhere. It comes down to eating less than you burn by eating right and exercising. Sounds simple, right? But it’s far from easy. Otherwise, all of us would have built our best bodies. That doesn’t, however, mean there’s nothing we can do. Indeed, many of the best ways to burn fat everywhere come down to commonsense.
1) Start with a plan
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” as the old saying goes. And when it comes to losing body fat everywhere, improving your overall health, and feeling good, planning is essential. That includes planning, prepping, and preparing meals, but it also includes knowing when and where you’ll be exercising throughout the week.
You don’t need to be overly strict either. After all, we need to live too, and that includes enjoying the moment. Shoot for the 80/20 lifestyle where you follow healthy eating and exercise practices 80% of the time and allow for fun and playtime the other 20%.
2) Skip the snacks
Once upon a time, many people were encouraged to “graze” throughout the day, eating every two to three hours, to lose weight as eating can temporarily boost metabolism. Yet research has found that eating only at mealtimes (as in breakfast, lunch, and dinner) is one of the best ways to beat belly fat. 1 That includes skipping any pre-bedtime snacks.
3) Say sayonara to sodas
While the empty sugar calories found in sodas are an obvious culprit for body fat everywhere on the body, what you may find surprising is that sugar-free sodas have also been linked to both weight gain and increased waist size. And the more you drink, the more likely you are to experience greater fat around the midsection. 2 Instead of grabbing a soda to sip, consider one of these yummy homemade drinks to help you lose weight.
4) Lay off the booze
Another common way to consume empty calories is by drinking booze. If you want to lose weight, you’ll also want to limit—or altogether eliminate—adult beverages. A single beer or glass of wine with dinner may be okay, but any more can lead to dehydration along with bloating and more than a few pounds of weight gain over time.
5) Slam some water
Water may not seem like a fat-loss secret revealed, but it can be. You see, many people confuse thirst for hunger and end up eating rather than drinking, which is what the body was actually asking for. Plus, folks who are dehydrated burn fewer calories than those who aren’t. Keep water with you throughout the day, and you’ll likely find it’s easier to fight off the fat in the long run.
6) Fill up with protein and fiber
One of the biggest reasons to eat is because you’re hungry. So, to naturally lower portion sizes and make it easier to skip the snacks, rearrange your plate. Start with protein-rich foods like lean meats, eggs, beans, or legumes. Protein is good partially because it has the greatest thermic effect. (That is, you burn more calories to digest and absorb proteins than carbohydrates or fats.)
Then pile some fibrous foods like dark leafy greens or other vegetables onto your plate. Finally, add some rich whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, or a slice of sprouted whole-wheat bread.
Combined, these types of foods will help fill you up with nutrition rather than calories. Plus, they take longer to digest, so you stay full for longer.
7) Watch your portions
If it’s healthy, you can have seconds, right? Not if you want to lose body fat everywhere (or anywhere). Cutting calories doesn’t just mean changing what you eat, you also need to adjust how much you eat. Watching to ensure you are only eating one portion will help you decrease calories consumed, so you’ll be able to lose weight.
8) Eat more fat
Yes, you read that right. A higher-fat diet (over around 25 to 35% fat) can help you lose body fat everywhere. However, when it comes to fats, quality is the top consideration. Fatty foods to eat more of include nuts, avocados, and healthy oils, which can fill you up and dampen appetite. Yet because fats are also calorie-rich, watching portion sizes is even more critical.
Wish you had an extra arm or maybe an extra hour per day? Many of us are juggling so many different aspects of life from work to family to community to financial pressures, etc., that it feels nearly impossible to relax and let go. But if you want to lose body fat everywhere (including your gut), you also need to learn to let go of stress.
One of the body’s key hormones that leads to weight gain is the stress hormone known as cortisol. Talk a look at your life and see if there are areas where you can leave stress behind. Or start a self-care practice of meditation, regular exercise, and walking barefoot in the grass to destress daily.
When it comes to losing body fat everywhere, exercise is vital for many reasons. Yes, it helps lean the scale in your favor when it comes to burning calories. But it also helps fight stress, support healthy levels of metabolic hormones, and lift mood.
What’s the best exercise to do? Does running burn fat everywhere? What about cycling or tennis or swimming? When it gets down to it, the best exercise to do is… any exercise you’ll actually do. If you love to play racquetball, do that. Run? Weight training? Yoga? Dance workouts? Just get the body moving for at least 150 minutes every week.
For even greater results, combine both cardio workouts like running with strength exercises like weight training or bodyweight resistance moves.
By lifting heavier weights or using more resistance, your body will build more muscle. Muscle mass is more “metabolically active.” That means, unlike body fat, muscle burns more calories even when you’re resting. And the best way to increase muscle is by lifting progressively heavier weights.
On those days when time is tight, you can choose to sneak in several mini-workouts throughout the day. For example, take three 10-minute walks after breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Or take a few minutes to do some pushups between tasks. Or, increase your intensity with a quick HIIT training session.
Alternatively, you can also decrease the rest time between sets to both shorten the workout and make it more intense. You can also link a couple of exercises together, moving from one movement to the next (for a different body part) with no rest. For example, do biceps curls followed immediately by triceps pushdowns, or bent-over rows followed by bench press.
11) Move more throughout the day
Unfortunately, with our excessively sedentary lifestyles, 30 minutes of exercise a day isn’t enough to lose body fat everywhere. If you’re like most people, you sit at a desk all day, travel in a car, and then relax at night in front of a TV, tablet, or other devices. Find ways to move more throughout the day to help burn extra calories (and increase energy levels). Stand up at your desk, take the stairs at work and home, park far away from your building, fidget or tap your toes as you watch TV—do anything you can to find little extra movements throughout the day.
12) Make sleep a priority
Getting enough sleep can energize you, lift your mood, help your body (and mind) recover after a long day, and fight fat! If you’re not getting enough sleep, that can increase appetite (so you eat more), slow your metabolism (so you burn fewer calories), and lead to greater belly fat. Make sure you’re getting the rest your body needs by prioritizing seven to nine hours of sleep every night.
No matter where your “problem” area is, remember that you didn’t gain the weight overnight, and that means you won’t lose the weight overnight. It took time to get where you are, and it will take time to get where you’re going. No big fat-loss secrets were revealed because weight loss isn’t about a hidden skill, supplement, or food that will magically lead to results. It’s about following commonsense steps and continuing to repeat them over time.
Rest assured, however, if you do follow these steps, get your metabolic hormones back in order, and continue your quest, there’s no better way to succeed.
1. Koopman KE, Caan MW, Nederveen AJ, Pels A, Ackermans MT, Fliers E, la Fleur SE, Serlie MJ. Hypercaloric diets with increased meal frequency, but not meal size, increase intrahepatic triglycerides: A randomized controlled trial. Hepatology. 2014 Aug;60(2):545-53.
2. Fowler SP, Williams K, Hazuda HP. Diet soda intake is associated with long‐term increases in waist circumference in a biethnic cohort of older adults: The San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 2015 Apr;63(4):708-15.