It doesn’t matter if you are 27 or 72, adopting certain eating habits can help you lose weight and, in the process, trim abdominal fat at any age. The critical word in that statement is “habits.” When you do something habitually, you make that behavior part of your normal routine.
The best way to reliably lose weight is to adopt some important daily eating habits, which can be even easier than learning guitar because eating is something you have to do several times a day. The motivation to eat is automatic – you’re hungry! – now all it takes is the knowledge (and discipline) to eat right for weight loss. Read on, and for more on how to eat healthy, don’t miss Eating Habits to Lose Abdominal Fat As You Age, Say Dietitians.
A well-balanced breakfast eaten every morning forms the foundation of your eating habits for the rest of the day, says registered dietitian nutritionist Kim Rose, RDN, CDE, a certified diabetes care and education specialist. Even though recent studies have called into question the long-held belief that breakfast eaters tend to be leaner than breakfast-skippers, many dietitians still believe a breakfast of protein, healthy fat, and fiber is a gold-standard habit to adopt for good health and belly fat loss. Why?
“If you eat a substantial breakfast, you’ll modify your calorie intake the rest of the day,” says Rose. Some studies demonstrate that people who eat sizeable breakfasts consume fewer calories at dinnertime, feel less hungry, and improve their insulin sensitivity. Since more carbs tend to be eaten at breakfast than any other time of day, it may help you to review the 22 Best Carbs to Shrink Belly Fat.
Make a habit of journaling what you eat to lose belly fat as you age. It’s a classic weight-loss tool endorsed by thousands of dietitians and backed by science. Daily “dietary self-monitoring,” that is, recording all foods and beverages consumed as well as portion size and preparation method “is consistently related to successful short- and long-term weight loss,” write the authors of a 2019 study in the journal Obesity.
In their small study, participants who recorded three meals a day and took about 15 minutes daily to do so lost at least 5% of their body weight by the end of month 6 of the program.
The best way to cut down on calories and start losing belly fat is by eliminating the empty calories from sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB). You don’t need a study to convince you, but here’s one: a Physiology & Behavior study found that each sugary beverage consumed contributed an average of 147 additional calories to the participants’ daily total energy intake.
The simple solution to cutting SSB calories is drinking water instead. And the best move to make is sipping from a tumbler of water all day long, whenever you’re thirsty. “Wherever you are, your water bottle should be,” says Eatthis.com medical board nutritionist Ilana Muhlstein, RDN, author of You Can Drop It! How I Dropped 100 Pounds Enjoying Carbs, Cocktails & Chocolate—and You Can Too! She recommends making a habit of downing two glasses of water as soon as you wake and another two before each meal.
Get in the habit of tricking your brain into feeling satisfied with fewer calories. “Often we eat with our eyes and many people I work with feel they are still part of the ‘clean plate club,’ meaning they have to mop up every last crumb of food on their plate before finishing,” says Eatthis.com medical board member and registered dietitian Molly Hembree, MS, RD, a plant-based nutrition expert. “You can get ahead of this by using smaller size plates and bowls, sticking with lunch-size plates that are just 9-inch diameter and bowls that hold about the same amount of food as a mug would. This can help greatly with portion control.”
Eating certain types of food can slow digestion, which keeps you feeling full and satisfied so hunger is delayed. And you end up consuming fewer calories as a result. The best way to slow things down in the digestion department is to make a habit of eating foods rich in a certain type of plant fiber called soluble fiber. Soluble fiber, as the name suggests, dissolves in water. It forms a thick, sticky gel that slows digestion.
Good sources of soluble fiber are beans, oats, peas, pears, apples, carrots, barley, flaxseed, and psyllium. A study in the journal Obesity found that consuming soluble fiber regularly reduces the accumulation of visceral (deep) belly fat, especially when combined with regular vigorous exercise. The average American adult falls about 15 grams short of the American Heart Association’s recommendation of 30 grams a day of dietary fiber and suggests that increasing consumption to 25 or more grams daily would help you lose belly fat as you age.
University of Illinois Chicago researchers say intermittent fasting is an effective way to lose significant weight as well as help people improve their metabolic health. A report in Annual Reviews that analyzed 25 studies found that the 5:2 diet (where two days of the week are fasting days) and alternate-day fasting (where you are allowed one meal of 500 calories on fasting days) both resulted in weight loss of up to 8% of body weight over eight weeks. Those two fasting diets also helped participants maintain an average 7% weight loss for a year.
“[Fasting is] definitely effective for weight loss and it’s gained popularity because there are no special foods or apps necessary,” said study author Krista Varady, professor of nutrition at UIC College of Applied Health Sciences in a news release.
Related: One Surprising Side Effect of Intermittent Fasting, New Study Says