Make your waistline smaller and shrink ab fat cells, from reducing trans fats to lowering your stress levels. I am going to keep it simple but here is why getting rid of belly fat is so important. Visceral or “deep” fat wraps around the inner organs and spells trouble for your health. How do you know if you have it? If you have a large waist or belly, of course you have visceral fat. Visceral fat drives up your risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and even dementia.

Abdominal subcutaneous fat is viewed as a bigger health risk than hip or thigh fat, and experts say that both the subcutaneous(under the skin) and visceral fat (around organs) on the belly can cause health risk. And that could mean having a worse effect on insulin resistance, boosting the risk of diabetes, and a worse effect on blood lipids, boosting heart and stroke risks.

Stubborn abdominal fat is like an unwanted guest you just can’t get rid of, and kicking it to the curb can be the mother of all exercise and health challenges. But some methods are more promising than others. Here are some ways to rid yourself of stomach fat.

1. EXERCISE AND EAT RIGHT:
No kidding, right? Yet so many of us sabotage this no-brainer plan. Study after study proves that eating a well-balanced diet high in veggies and protein, moderate in whole grains, complex carbs, fruit and fat, low in sugars and processed foods, plus exercising regularly, will help you shed not only subcutaneous fat (the surface fat that makes love handles), but also the deeper visceral fat which builds up around abdominal organs and can raise your chance of suffering high cholesterol, heart disease, or type 2 diabetes. And regular exercise not only helps you slim down your whole body, it actually shrinks the size of fat cells in your stomach.

2. GET DOWN TO YOUR HEALTHY WEIGHT BY LOSING FAT NOT JUST LOSING WEIGHT:
Losing that gut isn’t easy, but you can improve your contours (and lower your risk of heart disease and cancer) by lowering your overall Body Fat. Healthy adult Body Fat: 14 – 27% for women and 6 – 22% for men. You can do as many crunches as you want, but if you’re overweight, your abs will be hidden under a padding of fat. (By the same token, you can be naturally slim but still carry a paunch if you don’t exercise or eat right. Bottom line: think of rule #1 as the Golden Gut-busting Rule.) We tend to think lose weight and not lose fat. There is a big difference. Just calories in and calories out may not get rid of body fat if your day-to-day eating isn’t balanced and has too much of one macro nutrients. Eg. All carbs no protein.

3. DON’T BE A STRESS CASE:
Scientists are studying the link between stress and belly fat. High cortisol levels in blood, resulting from stress, seem to react with the body’s insulin to create visceral abdominal fat – and it will also drive us toward fatty, sugary foods. Reducing stress may make it easier to say no to barbecue chips or chocolate truffles that go straight to the waistline. Try Yoga as a way of cutting stress. Bonus: it’ll improve flexibility and can also improve core strength. If your daily commute is a cause of stress, wear an iPod or read a funny book to help you chill out on public transportation; if you drive, consider ways to reduce your commuting time.

4. GET OFF THE BOOZE AND QUIT SMOKING:
Think cigarettes keep you thin? Think again. Both smoking and alcohol raise the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your body. I have heard this many times “If I quit smoking I am going to gain so much weight!” People gain weight after quitting because they choose to eat bad food! See rule #3 for a refresher on what cortisol means for your gut.

5. HIRE A PERSONAL TRAINER:
Embarking on a fitness regime is more likely to be successful if you invest in some one-on-one workouts with a personal trainer. They can devise a regimen that will give you the right amount of cardio plus strength training to help you increase muscle, drop body fat, and target trouble spots most effectively. The faster you see results, the more likely you are to stay motivated — and active.

6. SKIP THE THAI, MEET FOR SUSHI INSTEAD:
A recent Japanese study found that fucoxanthin, a compound in brown seaweed, can shrink abdominal fat. Order that miso soup or seaweed salad. Not only do these appetizers contain seaweed, they’ll fill you up so you won’t pig out on that calorie filled choice known as tempura.

7. AVOID TRANS FATS LIKE THE PLAGUE:
Trans-fatty acids, found in many convenience foods, deserve their own mention. Trans fat are linked to cardiovascular disease, and, as if that weren’t enough, they literally go straight to your belly. A recent study found that not only do trans fats create excess visceral fat in the abdomen, they actually cause fat from other parts of the body to redistribute there. That alone should make you want to avoid trans fat!!

8. DON’T BELIEVE LATE-NIGHT INFOMERCIALS:
A study by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) found that expensive ab-targeting home-exercise equipment is no better than and probably worse than a crunch. Skip the gimmicks and fill your workouts with exercises that require core engagement. Besides the obvious squats, deadlifts, pushups etc. use these instead: lying leg raises, hanging leg raises, plank variations, cable exercises (anti-rotation presses, chops/lifts), ab wheel etc.

Bottom line, if you carry your weight on your belly this should be a warning sign to disease later in life. By making changes mentioned in the above 8 rules, you can get rid of those inches on your belly in no time! Your goal doesn’t need to be a six-pack right out of the gate! So don’t think that is necessary for good health. Your first obtainable goal is dropping body fat, and inches. The number you set would be based on many factors and this is where having a personal trainer can benefit you! Shrink the belly.. reduce the chance of poor health!