If you're specifically looking to target your belly, we have some bad news: you can't spot-target fat loss. That means you can do crunches or planks all day long, but you won't specifically burn belly fat. Instead, you can lose body fat overall, including from your belly. And by avoiding certain belly-bloating foods and with some strategic exercise, you will inevitably see results in your belly.
Sable of Squat Like a Lady is a self-described full-time student and part-time powerlifter, but she hasn't always been buff and tough. After suffering from anorexia as a teen, Sable gained 80 pounds. On her journey back to a healthy weight, she fell in love with heavy weight lifting. Now, her focus is no longer about losing weight—check out her post Don't Call Me Skinny! —but on gaining strength.
The menstrual cycle itself doesn’t seem to affect weight gain or loss. But having a period may affect your weight in other ways. Many women get premenstrual syndrome (PMS). PMS can cause you to crave and eat more sweet or salty foods than normal.4 Those extra calories can lead to weight gain. And salt makes the body hold on to more water, which raises body weight (but not fat).
Physical activity helps burn abdominal fat. “One of the biggest benefits of exercise is that you get a lot of bang for your buck on body composition,” Stewart says. Exercise seems to work off belly fat in particular because it reduces circulating levels of insulin—which would otherwise signal the body to hang on to fat—and causes the liver to use up fatty acids, especially those nearby visceral fat deposits, he says.
Unfortunately, that balance can be hard to find when our ancient evolutionary responses just aren’t appropriate for the modern food environment. Especially for women who are already overweight, it’s entirely possible that the fat -> estrogen -> fat cycle can spiral out of control. Weight loss by itself approaches this problem from one angle (less fat means lower estrogen production), but specifically addressing estrogen might also be helpful.
Since insulin sensitivity is at its lowest in the final two weeks of the cycle, and carb intake is also at its lowest, exercise should be more anaerobic (this means hard and fast, really getting your heart pumping). It should be focused more on high-intensity interval training, with short bursts of high intensity work, either from brief sprint exercises or from weight lifting. This is an excellent way to sharpen insulin sensitivity while simultaneously burning fat, increasing muscle mass, and spending calories. It also helps the body stay healthy and as stress-free as possible during this time in which the body is gearing up to menstruate and the least capable of handling stress.
Weight loss can be intentional, such as from dieting and exercise, or unintentional and be a manifestation of illness. Weight loss can result from a decrease in body fluid, muscle mass, or fat. A decrease in body fluid can come from medications, fluid loss, lack of fluid intake, or illnesses such as diabetes. A decrease in body fat can be intentionally caused by exercise and dieting, such as for overweight or obesity. Weight loss is normal after pregnancy. Other causes of weight loss include, but are not limited to, cancer, viral infection (such as CMV or HIV), gastroenteritis, parasite infection, depression, bowel diseases, and overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism).
No, we’re not telling you that you need a tummy tuck (although that would flatten your belly, we suppose). Rather, there are several common health conditions that can make your belly bulge and until you fix the anatomical issues underneath, nothing else can flatten it out. For instance, many women have a diastisis recti, or separation of the abdominal muscles, after pregnancy. In about 25 percent of these women, the muscles never quite come back together, leading to a permanent protrusion. Similarly, a hernia (congenital or from an injury) can also cause your belly to stick out. Both conditions can be resolved surgically.
Top Quote: "I’m sharing every lesson to getting there—not as a drill sergeant and definitely not as a guru—as a friend who gets it and never wants anyone else to struggle alone. I’ve learned more in the last ten years than I ever thought possible, and I’m laying it bare here, one post a time—every lesson I’ve learned on losing weight,real advice on maintenance, thoughts on depression, how I’ve moved beyond binge eating, lifestyle bits that make me feel good inside and out, and all the healthy recipes I make regularly.”
I wish I could tell you the habits formed without a problem, but it was HARD. I had to figure out what worked best for me. I learned that packing my lunch the night before work was super helpful. I also learned that nights were hard for me. There were days I ate super well all day long but then felt like I ruined it when I ate a bunch of candy or dessert. I would also indulge over the weekends, late at night, or when going out to dinner. I was also not in shape so working out was hard. I felt super weak and was tired after work so it was extra difficult motivating myself to get to the gym only to find out and remind myself I was not good at running or lifting. It took me a while to learn that exercising over my lunch break was a good fit for me – it gave me a break from work and I had enough energy to push myself. There were a lot of days of missing the mark, when I would be too tired to work out or days when I didn’t think about what I was consuming and ate whatever was in front of me (not the nutritious kinds of food). There were many days when I felt like I was making any progress whatsoever. The biggest and most important thing I started to learn in this summer was to give myself grace. I hard to learn to forgive myself and move on when I fell short of the mark I set for myself. I had to learn to keep my head up and remind myself that the tiny baby steps would lead to progress.
About: Aurora is a college student full of curiosity, including a nearly insatiable appetite to learn all she can about fitness and nutrition. She fell in love with exercising early on, while playing for a softball team growing up. That fueled a passion for nutrition as well, and eventually a blog dedicated to both as a way to inspire others to live healthy and lose weight. Aurora, who works in a veterinary’s office, also has a deep love for animals (which is always a bonus in our book). And yes, she includes many photos of cute puppies in her blog.
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About: The truth is we all love a good success story — they show us what other people, real people that went through the same things we did, were able to achieve. They also give us ideas on how we can kickstart our own weight loss journey and succeed. The Weigh We Were is a one-stop shop for all those stories, real stories from other people who lost weight, plus how they did it. It’s just the place to get ideas from similar people to see what might work and what won’t.

Display trust elements. “Trust elements” sound fancy, but what I mean is quite simple. Whenever other website mentions you in one way or the other, put their logo in your sidebar and label it “Websites talking about me” or something similar. The point is to prove that other sites see you as a real, credible person. If you don’t have any of those yet then don’t worry, the day will come.

The 17 diet is not a bad diet. Phases 1 and 2 are not according to standards but phase 3 is a rather balanced phase. We have selected this diet to be part of our best weight loss programs for women because many women want fast results in a short period of time and phases 1 and 2 can give you the results you want in 34 days. The tricky part is to keep the weight off when you are entering phases 3 and 4 and this is where you need discipline.
So at age 20 my weight started to climb, but I didn’t notice or care because I was having fun.  At about age 24, I still didn’t workout at all and just partied and enjoyed my time with my friends.  I had an asthma attack, and went to the Doctors and that is when he told me, if I keep going this route I would die! (Thanks Dr. Becker) Pretty abrupt, but it’s true.  I was hitting near 200lbs and heading down the road of disaster.  I don’t think I ever made it to 200lbs, but I came pretty close.  (That’s me with the brown hair and bag in the picture, gross huh?)

About: Evette’s blog is all about getting personal. She’s deeply expressive in her writing and truly moves readers with her words while she maintains accountability on her weight loss journey. Evette started the blog as a way to share her path of discovery and redefining moments while she works to raise her young daughter into a beautiful, kind woman. And she takes readers along with her as she continues to blog about her goals, attainments, fears and much, much more — all in a personal and engaging manner.
I played tennis from my freshman through junior year of high school and, again, really enjoyed the sport, but abhorred the running.  Our coach was a middle-aged guy who could run circles around me.  The entire team would have finished their laps around the field, while I was still stumbling along next to the (also middle-aged) assistant coach, who I’m quite sure they sent in as an attempt to get me to run faster.
Invest in single-serving containers. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases says that a serving size on a food label may be more or less than the amount of food you should eat, depending on your age, height, sex, and weight. Once you're done cooking, place the excess servings in the containers to eat for lunch or dinner tomorrow. That way, you won't polish off everything in one sitting.
I am going to be 60 on Feb. 5th. I didn’t have a weight problem when I was young. I am 5’9″ and weigh 196 right now. I am build med. to large boned. I have lost some weight in the past, 15 to 20 lbs. But I go back to my normal eating always and feel so angry at myself. I eat when I am board or angry or stressed. I also have a fit husband and he is my food police, (not my idea). I have depression and really have a hard time in the winter. I have no energy to do anything. I have started to lose weight and do some excercise but always stop. I feel like a failure most of the time.
Fibrous foods are as close to a “miracle belly flattening pill” as we have. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, particularly those high in soluble fiber, have been proven to reduce fat around your midsection. In addition, these foods fill you up so you eat less, flattening your stomach over time. Try one of these 5 easy ways to turn off your fat genes and keep the weight off for good.
The calorie restriction diet myth suggests you will win the fight against flab. While losing weight does come down to how many calories you consume, it’s the types of foods you eat that will determine how you feel as you lose weight and the kind of weight you will lose. If you have a poorquality diet — counting calories but eating junk food — chances are you’ll lose muscle rather than fat, and thus, suffer from slow metabolism.
As my middle 30’s were here, I ate better, more home cooked meals, but again didn’t do any exercise.  I was tracking calories, but I wasn’t eating enough.  I didn’t know how many calories I needed in a day, I just thought I wasn’t suppose to eat.  At work the other day, I was cleaning my desk drawer out and came across papers that had my calorie intake for the day on it and it said I was eating 800, 900 and 1000 calories on a high day!  I was shocked, well no wonder I wasn’t losing any weight, I wasn’t eating enough.  You can’t go from eating way over 2000 calories a day to practically nothing.  But back then I didn’t care, I did that for a few months and gave up.  The scale didn’t move, so I figured again, this is the weight my body is comfortable with. (image of my calorie count from January 2009)
About: Shannon’s a fit girl, but her mission in life is to get even fitter — and motivate others to join her along the way. She’s also a full-time marketing executive, but her true passion is bringing together and inspiring them to reach their goals. You’ll find her posts are full of positivity, motivation, practical tips for exercising (without killing yourself) and even fun fashion bits. If the sun was shining through a blog, it would be shining through Shannon’s.

My wife is always desperate to control her weight. She has tried healthy diets similar to what you have listed above, and she has tried all the crash diets and diet pills and diet fads you can think of. She is still struggling, and she is only 25. Currently she has been told that part of her problem might be digestive issues (along the lines of Irritable Bowel Syndrome) PLUS the fact that she has needed to get 2 cortizone steroid shots in the past 2 years, which is said to encourage weight retention, PLUS AGAIN using an IUD contraceptive that messes with her natural hormone balance. The poor girl needs MORE than just a normal diet-routine and a little extra exercise. Do you have any safe advice for those, like my wife, with unusual and extra-ordinary conditions?
Katie Foster is a mother and healthy lifestyle blogger for Running For Cookies. After struggling with being overweight her entire life, constant yo-yo dieting, and her weight reaching a high of 253 pounds, she decided to make a change for good when her weight prevented her from teaching her son how to ride a bike. Katie documents her 125-pound weight loss journey and her battle with mental health, along with healthy recipes, running advice, and motivation that helped her reach her goals and accept herself on her blog.
My weight was pretty consistent throughout middle school, high school, and into college. As a middle schooler, there was so much going on in just trying to develop as a human that fitness, nutrition or creating a healthy lifestyle was never going to be a priority. I exercised by figure skating (I used to be a competitive figure skater!), track and field, and soccer (I played goalie for one year so honestly I shouldn’t even count that.) I also remember many sleepovers spent eating pizzas, candy, and soda. I specifically have one memory of me and a friend challenging each other to eat entire medium pizza from dominos by ourselves…and we both succeeded…so that’s where I was as a 7th grader. I remember feeling bigger than a lot of girls and embarrassed about my weight sometimes, but I had super great friends, kept busy with activities, and overall was supported and I think that is why my weight never got me down too much. Overall, I probably lived a generic middle school life.
3. Be realistic about which habits need to go. "When I was heavy, I'd eat French fries every single day, plus carbs at almost every meal—like a sandwich for lunch or bread with pasta for dinner. A diet so heavy in fried food and carbs just isn't conducive to weight loss. To lose the weight, I went from three large meals a day to six small meals, mostly made of fresh vegetable salads with lean meats and nuts. And no more bread!"
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