One of the most common questions I get asked by women is "how do I lose belly fat?". Let me just say this first... Everyone has belly fat, even those who have a flat belly and a six-pack! It's perfectly normal to have fat in the midsection area, but having excess fat can have negative impacts in your health. In fact, excess abdominal fat is linked to diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
My answer to people asking about how to lose belly fat is always the same: you can't target fat loss in specific areas! What you can do is make changes to your diet and fitness to improve your overall health. So continue reading below for my advice and tips on losing belly fat!
Tip #1 - Be in a calorie deficit
A caloric deficit is any shortage in the amount of calories consumed relative to the amount of calories required for maintenance of current body weight. A deficit can be created by reducing calorie intake (lower food intake) or by increasing activity level.
Tip #2 - Eat healthy
As the saying goes “abs are made in the kitchen”. You can train hard and build abdominal muscles, but if you eat junk food all day, you won’t lose your belly fat.
My advice is to minimize eating processed food as much as possible. Processed foods contain a lot of added sugars, and we all know how bad those are for you! Studies have shown that added sugars, large amounts of fructose and glucose, can lead to increased visceral fat.  Visceral fat is fat stored in the midsection area and internal organs like the liver, this can lead to an increased risk type 2 diabetes and other health conditions.
As you can see, healthy eating is extremely important! Try to focus on eating whole, unprocessed foods like the ones listed below:
- Proteins: Chicken, turkey breast, tuna, ground turkey, fish, eggs...
- Veggies: Spinach, broccoli, salad, kale, cabbage, cucumbers, bell peppers, zucchini’s...
- Fruits: Strawberries, orange, apple, pineapple, pears, blackberries...
- Fats: Olive oil, fish oil, flax seeds, peanut butter, almond butter, coconut oil, almonds..
- Carbs: Brown rice, oats, whole grain pasta, quinoa, buckwheat, sweet potatoes..
Tip #3 - Eat less carbs
You need carbs for energy. The problem is that most people eat way more carbs than they need. Your body will stock the carbs it doesn’t need as fat which leads to weight gain.
Implementing a low-carb diet is an effective way to lose body fat. Many people think cutting back on fat is the trick to fat loss, but it's not. There are actually studies that compare low-carb and low-fat diets, and you'll be surprised by the results! The study shows that a high percentage of the fat lost on low-carb diets is abdominal fat, which is the most dangerous kind. 
My advice is to reduce your carb intake. Cut back on potatoes, pasta, rice, breads, pastries, sweets, sweetened drinks (sodas). And eat more fat! Fat doesn’t make you fat. Bad nutrition and lack of exercise do. Focus on eating healthy fats like avocados, eggs, salmon, nuts, etc.
Tip #4 - Eat more protein
Protein is one of the most important macronutrients, not only to build muscle, but also to lose weight. Protein has a higher thermic effect than other foods. What this means is that your body burns more energy processing proteins than it does processing carbs and fat.
Eating a high protein diet is also a great way to reduce calorie intake because protein-based foods are more filling. You'll naturally consume less calories by eating more protein-based foods like eggs, meat, fish, legumes, and more.
Tip #5 - Get better sleep
Did you know that the quality and hours of sleep you get can affect your weight loss? It's true! Studies show that not getting an adequate amount of sleep (less than six hours) can decrease levels of leptin and increase levels of the hormone ghrelin.  The leptin hormone helps to suppress your appetite, opposed to ghrelin which intensifies your appetite.
So make sure you're getting enough sleep to avoid decreasing the level of leptin and increasing the hormone ghrelin.
Tip #6 - Manage stress
Too much stress can lead to belly fat! Stress triggers the adrenal gland which produces the stress hormone cortisol. When your cortisol levels are too high it can increase your appetite and abdominal fat storage.
Effective ways to manage stress is by engaging in activities that make you happy and relaxed. Breathe fresh air and take a walk outside, practice yoga or meditation. Whatever helps you relax do it!
Tip #7 - Get stronger
Aside from eating a healthy diet, you should increase your physical activity. People always think that the trick to losing weight and fat fast is by doing crazy amounts of cardio. Cardio can aid in weight loss, but too much of it can lead to muscle loss and increase the cortisol hormone.
Focus on getting stronger! Strength training builds muscle mass, prevents muscle loss and helps fat loss. Don’t be scared to lift heavy! You won’t look manly! If you love doing cardio then do it, but incorporate lifting weights. Try to do fat burning cardio like HIIT (high-intensity interval training). HIIT is known to burn fat effectively and in a short period of time!
Extra tip: Stop doing crunches every day. They will strengthen your core muscles, but won’t burn the belly fat.
I hope these tips help you lose belly fat, but most importantly help you stay healthy.
Before I forget... if you need help finding the best exercises to lose fat then check out my Fit With Iulia App! My fitness app has specific goals to help you lose body fat - for gym and home workouts! My Lose Body Fat At The Gym and Lose Weight At Home programs are updated every week. So every week my subscribers receive a new workout plan that specifically targets fat loss. The exercises are a mix of lifting weights, cardio, and HIIT.