***As a disclaimer, I am an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach however, this blog is for informational purposes only, not medical advice as this blog is my own personal experience. For more information, please see my blog disclaimer.
Like most women, I’ve struggled with that stubborn lower belly fat that never seems to go away! You think you’re eating healthy, exercising, not over-indulging; you’re losing weight but the pooch stays. From my experience, there’s no secret, magical diet that gets rid of it…it’s definitely a lifestyle change situation here. The phrase “abs are made in the kitchen” is so true! So, if you want to know how I got rid of my lower belly pooch, keep reading! (Also, just FYI, I’ve never been pregnant so my lower belly issue was not from pregnancy. This post is my experience getting rid of my lower belly fat.)
I’m not going to lie, my trainer writes my meal plans for me. I’m a dancer training for audition season so sometimes, I need that accountability…being called out for my slip ups causes me to have less slip ups (I am not a dieter so sticking to a specific meal plan is extremely hard for me. I do it just for the few months leading to audition season, but I like my tacos. I’m all for a lifestyle change and have treats in moderation when I’m not prepping for auditions.) I did his nutrition plan to prepare for auditions last year which I started in December 2018 and after auditions were over, I didn’t keep up with his exact meal plans however, I did maintain healthier food choices and I continued the good eating habits.
The picture below on the left side was me in December 2018. I’ve always been skinny, but as you can see, I clearly have a lower belly pooch. I’ve always struggled to put on weight and keep it on however, as soon as I would start putting on the wrong kind of weight, it went straight to my lower belly. It always made me self-conscious and I tried so many ways to get rid of it that didn’t work. However, at the time, I was drinking every weekend and ate too many desserts. Other than that though, I was eating “healthy” but not “clean”.
The picture on the right side was before I started my meal plan for auditions again in January 2020. There was about an 8 month gap between finishing the meal plan from last year, and starting it again this year. Even though I wasn’t sticking to a strict meal plan, I had incorporated some big lifestyle changes, like a diet that included mostly fruits, vegetables, fish, organic animal protein, a lot less alcohol (I’m not a drinker anymore though), and a lot less desserts.
I’ve learned a lot about how my body works and how to properly fuel it over the past year and a half or so. I know what caused my lower belly fat and I know how to keep mine away. I know everyone’s body is different however, the tips I’m sharing are things I think you can incorporate to be healthier overall, and hopefully help get rid of belly fat too!
1. No More Alcohol
I know that seems extreme and you’re probably telling yourself “well one drink won’t hurt.” I used to say the same thing however, that one drink did hurt! Again, everyone’s body is different, and alcohol has no effect on belly fat for some people, but if you’re reading this and you do have that daily glass of wine, or just a few drinks out with friends, then you’re probably not one of those people. So just try giving up alcohol for 2 weeks, or even a month…I’m sure you won’t regret it.
Also, I used to have the occasional glass of wine or drink with friends, but after that one drink, it was hard to turn down another and once you have that one, people pressure you into another. If you don’t have a drink at all, it’s easier to turn down when people offer you a drink. And just to add to that, if you’re only planning on having that “one drink”, then why not have water or un-sweet iced tea? Most people claim that they don’t feel any different after one drink, so why even bother? Why consume the calories and sugar?
I’ve noticed when I go out, it’s not the no alcohol that feels awkward…It’s not having a cup in my hand. So I just get water or un-sweet iced tea. And also, I’ve noticed that not drinking makes other people more uncomfortable than it makes me. Just some things to think about!
2. Eat Real Food
If it comes in a package or you don’t know what it used to be, don’t eat it. Stick to fruits, vegetables, nuts, organic (or at a minimum, antibiotic free) meat, wild caught fish, organic grains (like oats, quinoa, rice…not bread and pasta.) Real food is easier to digest because you’re not trying to digest like 30 ingredients at once.
My mentality is that God has provided us all the food we need, in the form we need it in. We are not meant to consume a bunch of preservatives and processed food. If you’re Christian or even just curious about what the Bible says about what we should eat, look at Ezekiel 4:9 and Genesis 1:29 especially. God lays out pretty specific instructions on what foods we should be eating!
3. Ditch the Condiments
You can season your food with seasoning like salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, ginger, cinnamon, basil, parsley, etc…you get where I’m going. No artificial flavors and limit natural flavors. (In my opinion, artificial and natural flavors are the food world’s version of fragrance. Tons of ingredients can hide behind those words and you don’t know what those ingredients are.) You don’t need a bunch of condiments with MSG and high fructose corn syrup to make your food taste good!
4. No Refined Sugar!
Or severely limit it to a few times a month. Again, I know this seems extreme, but if you are craving that sweet dessert, it is possible to make it without refined sugar. Some great alternatives (to use in moderation, meaning like couple times a week, not a couple times a day) are coconut sugar, coconut nectar, raw organic honey, organic maple syrup, date sugar, stevia, ripe bananas, or applesauce. It is an adjustment to learn to bake with natural sugars and sweeteners but remember, this is a LIFESTYLE CHANGE, not a quick fix diet!
5. Stop Consuming Dairy Products
Did you know that humans are the only mammals that drink milk after infancy and we’re the only mammals that drink another animal’s milk?! It’s not natural to consume dairy. Babies are meant to drink their mother’s milk. Babies produce an enzyme called lactase which helps break down lactose. Humans no longer produce lactase beyond the age of about 5. We, as adults, are not made to digest milk! So many people suffer from gas, bloating, and other various digestive issues and think it’s normal. It’s definitely not normal! And if you think you’re going to lack calcium by not drinking milk, you’re not! If you’re eating a well balanced, whole food diet, you shouldn’t lack most nutrients, including calcium. There are much better, healthier sources of calcium out there (like dark leafy greens.) You do not need dairy to get enough calcium!
I plan on doing some recipe and what I eat kind of posts soon, so be sure to look out for that! And if you have any questions or helpful tips, leave me a comment or message me on Instagram. I’d love to hear from you!