Let’s face it.
If you’re reading this right now, you’re a teen with unwanted, confidence-draining belly fat. Well, I know how you feel.
I know the struggle of trying to find the best way to lose that fat, of testing different diets and exercise routines, but never finding something that actually works.
I know how it feels to look in the mirror and see someone you don’t like simply because of those extra, chunky pounds.
So, how did I go from that, a teenage girl who couldn’t stand to look at her chubby stomach or fat legs in the mirror, to what I am today, a confident, toned, and healthy young woman?
Simply put, I cut a lot of carbohydrates and took up daily yoga.
Welcome Tubby Teens: in this article. we’ll look at “How to Lose Belly Fat and Gain Happiness” while you enjoy the process.
These photos were not altered in any way.
You can clearly see the difference in my shape from January of 2020 to only a few months later in August of 2020. It took me my entire life (just turned 22) to find something that actually worked for my fat-loss wishes. I’m thrilled that I can actually share it with you, and that maybe it’ll help you, too!
A Fat-Free Intro!
In my life-long quest to find happiness in my body, I finally hit on something, and I want to share it with all of you. As you read on, you’ll find my suggestions on how to lose unwanted body fat.
I’ve compiled both a few major (but not impossible) lifestyle changes and a list of steps you should complete every day, no matter your time constraints or fat-loss goals. So go ahead, get started! You got this!
What You’ll Need to Do
1. Be Kind:
Before you can even begin to see real results, you have to learn how to be kind to yourself. I know, it can definitely be difficult.
It’s no fun looking at pictures of super skinny people showing themselves off to the world, claiming they eat like you and don’t exercise, while you’re stuck underneath layers of blubber feeling sorry for yourself.
But if you’re constantly self-fat-shaming, never showing understanding for your own situation and body, then you’ll never keep that weight off.
Be kind. Self-love is where it starts.
2. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others: Everyone is Different…
…and hey, being different is good! So, you’ve got to stop comparing yourself to others.
Don’t look to the stick-thin cheerleaders or buff football stars in your school as the paragon of physical appearance. And for sure, don’t look to celebrities, either. Crazy diets, surgery, and photoshop are not viable fat-loss options.
Comparisons Just Won’t Help
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been known to secretly compare myself to skinny friends or Instagram models. But that never made me feel better, and it certainly never helped me lose my belly, leg, and arm fat.
In fact, it convinced me that I could never look like them, that I could never be as fit, and hence, as beautiful.
Accept Who You Are
It wasn’t until I accepted who I was, extra fat and all, that I was finally able to get more fit. Though I still feel insecure at times, I know that with my continued efforts in both diet and exercise, I will continue to become healthier and more toned.
Just remember: you can’t rush something that takes time. If you do, you’ll never find lasting results.
3. Change Your Diet:
I know you will probably hate me for saying this, but if you have excess belly fat especially for young people, chances are you don’t eat right.
But I eat fruits and vegetables! If you just said this to yourself, I have to pop your bubble here: fruits and vegetables aren’t gonna cut it.
Eat Fruits, But Even More Veggies
Now don’t get me wrong, adding fruits and vegetables to your diet is a good way to get yourself on the right track. But they’re not going to solve all of your belly fat issues, and I think you know that.
Fruits and vegetables are full of awesome benefits; they contain a variety of nutrients you simply can’t get in other foods.
They’re full of fiber, which not only keeps you regular but also can help lower bad cholesterol (LDL, Low-Density Lipoprotein) and slow how quickly sugar is absorbed into your blood, thereby quelling hunger and hence, aiding against overeating.
However, your better bet between the two will always be vegetables. They contain less sugar than fruits, and therefore, will aid even more in your fat-loss goals.
Personally, every day, I try to eat a fresh salad (topped with balsamic or apple cider vinegar, none of those creamy, high-carb dressings), a cup of green beans or broccoli, some carrots (for eye health), and ¼ baked potato.
Drink Up, Me Hearties!
Of course, I don’t mean rum. I’d like you to start increasing your water intake. And, hey! If you eat more fruits and veggies, that’ll happen automatically! Fruits and vegetables are full of water, the holy grail of belly fat loss.
Whether on its own, as part of a calming cup of green tea (no sugar added, of course), or in food, water is proven to naturally keep your appetite in check.
According to board-certified nutrition specialist Dr. Melina Jampolis, “Thirst…is often mistaken for hunger by the brain… Drinking water… sends messages to your brain signaling fullness.”
So, as long as you increase your water intake WITHOUT increasing your intake of other foods and sugary drinks, you’re certain to lose some belly fat.
Axe Liquid Sugar
Unfortunately, as you may have guessed, the above is not the only dietary change you need to make. I briefly mentioned something before that I know all of you teens love to love and can’t bear to live without sugary drinks.
This includes sodas, fruit juices, and yes, even those caramel macchiatos and pumpkin spice lattes we all know and love.
Now, don’t be too hard on yourself; most adults love sugary drinks, too, and as a species, we tend not to consider liquids as calories. So you may be shocked to know that there are 470 calories, 65 grams of carbs, and 15 grams of fat in your precious Venti (20 oz) Pumpkin Spice Latte.
That’s more than an actual chicken lunch! As listed by the National Chicken Council, a skinless chicken breast consists of 165 calories, 3.6 grams of fat, and 0, yes ZERO, grams of carbs! Think about that the next time you and your friends take a daily Starbucks to run.
Get That Protein
Speaking of chicken, try to increase your protein intake while decreasing your intake of simple carbohydrates. These means have eggs and bacon for breakfast instead of that S’mores Pop-Tart you know you want.
Higher protein levels will keep you fuller longer, preventing you from feeling the need to snack all day.
Sugary treats and oily snacks do the opposite; they tend to make you hungry. That’s why you’ll find yourself halfway through a bag of Doritos, feeling hungrier than when you started.
Don’t Keep Junk in Your Trunk…
… or in your backpack. Junk food, including chips, candy, fast food, and basically all stereotypical American foods, are the worst things you can eat if you want to lose fat.
Like I mentioned in regard to Doritos, junk foods contain high levels of sugar (even if they’re considered savory snacks), and the sugar content will spike your blood sugar levels, causing you to feel hungrier and hungrier. This is a no-no.
So, instead, try to adopt healthier snacks, such as trail mix, nuts, mixed vegetables, or beef jerky. The latter is my favorite.
I’m known to carry around a couple of meat sticks with me at all times in case hunger strikes! These types of snacks will keep you satiated until your next meal, preventing any fatty temptations throughout the day.
Don’t Go Full-Keto
The Keto Diet restricts your carb intake to 20 grams each day. That’s way too strict for me, and in my experience, a strict diet is doomed to fail. Wanna hear something crazy? If you have one Entenmann’s donut, that’s your entire carb intake for the day on keto.
That means you can’t even have a piece of fruit or a small portion of vegetables afterward. And, if you can’t eat the foods you love in addition to those that’ll make you healthier, you’re not going to stick with it.
Track Your Carbs, Instead
That’s what I did. Track your carb intake, whether it’s from orange juice, candy, or even mashed potatoes. I found that in a day, I was having over 300 grams of carbs!
Surprisingly, if you do a little Google search asking “How many carbs in a day to be healthy,” you’ll find a shocking entry from MayoClinic.
It will tell you that “the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that carbohydrates make up 45 to 65 percent of your total daily calories. So, if you get 2,000 calories a day, between 900 and 1,300 calories should be from carbohydrates. That translates to between 225 AND 325 GRAMS OF CARBOHYDRATES A DAY.”
This might not be as shocking to you as it is to me, since you’ve probably been taught the same exact thing in health class. But now, I know that number is WAY too high.
Try to Stay Under 100 Carbs for Gals, and 120 for Guys
As a 22-year-old, 5’3’’ woman, I’ve cut my daily carbohydrate intake from 300 grams (supposedly a fine amount according to the above guidelines) to 90 grams.
In place of those carbs, I’ve slightly increased my fat and protein intake, while still being able to eat my favorite foods! All I’ve changed is the portion sizes.
For example, rather than having a cup of rice, ¼ cup of vegetables, and 1 chicken tender for dinner, I now have ¼ cup of rice, a cup of vegetables, and 3 chicken tenders.
This sort of meal fills me up, I still get to have all of its components, and I actually LOSE belly fat!
And you know the best part? I still indulge myself in a sweet treat afterward!
Rather than having two Entenmann’s donuts, I’ll just stick with one! I still get my sugar fix, while also limiting my intake of refined sugars.
Don’t Shy Away from Fat
I know what you’re thinking. But FAT is what I’m trying to get rid of!
I understand that, trust me!
However, when you lower your carbohydrate intake, you’re going to want to increase your fat a bit. I’m not saying go eat a giant wad of butter.
Please don’t do that… That’s disgusting.
But, incorporate some healthy fat into your diet through things like avocados (which I know you Gen-Z’ers and Millennials love anyway), fatty fish such as salmon, or yes, even a bit of butter on a baked potato.
These fats will help provide your body with a more-ready energy source since you’re gonna be cutting its normal source, carbs.
Adopt a Sustainable Exercise Routine:
I’m not telling you to become a bodybuilder or to work out every second of every day. I know you don’t have time for that, and chances are, you don’t want to live at the gym. And you don’t have to!
All you have to do is get off the couch, stop crouching over your laptop or smartphone and be active.
An Hour a Day Keeps the Fat at Bay
Though it’s recommended to get at least an hour of physical activity every day, if you can only afford 30 minutes, that’s certainly better than nothing at all.
And DO NOT try and convince yourself that you can’t spare 30 minutes. In fact, open your mind to the fact that you can spare an hour every day for physical activity. I used to be like you, unmoving in my ways, stuck in a loop of school, homework, sleep, every day for years.
I was convinced that I had no time at all for exercise, that if I wasted an hour to go for a walk or 30 minutes doing a YouTube HIIT workout, I’d fail my classes and miss out on getting into college. Oh boy, was I wrong? I just wish I knew it back then.
Daily Yoga Practice
It took a worldwide pandemic for me to realize that I was going down a bad, fat-filled path. In the downtime we all had, I stumbled across a very special YouTube account called Yoga with Adriene.
I’d tried yoga before, and saw both positive physical and mental results quite quickly.
However, there’s only so much variety a Wii Fit yoga game could provide; plus, I constantly felt like I had to cheat in order to maintain the perfect balance that would get me a high score.
But, when I found Adriene’s 30-day challenge, I decided to try it. It’s only 30 days, I thought. A good way to pass the quarantine time.
That was March 15, 2020. Now, over 150 days later, I’ve dropped 14 pounds, gained muscle everywhere, and discovered an exercise routine I want to do every day. I NEVER thought that would happen.
HIIT Fat with your Best Shot
But, maybe yoga isn’t for you. That’s fine! Try a HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workout.
HIIT can actually be quite fun, and it’s definitely going to make you sweat. The reason people tend to gravitate towards HIIT is that there’s usually no need for gym equipment, but you’ll still get a great workout in a relatively short amount of time.
The only scary thing is, there are really no breaks in HIIT. But hey, you’ll be done faster and you’ll start to see your rolls roll away.
Try out my favorite Fitness YouTubers, FitnessBlender.
Not only do they post awesome, heart-pumping HIIT workouts, but you’re definitely going to find some other toning, muscle-building (and hence, fat-burning) exercises there, as well!
Get Your Aerobics On
If neither Yoga nor HIIT appeal to you, keep an open mind and just try them! But, if you promise to try them, and still hate them, aerobics might be for you. Now, I’m not asking you to jump around the room with knee-high socks or a terry cloth headband. Don’t get me wrong, though; if you want to, go for it!
Just go for a jog or a run. Hop in the pool and do some laps. Find a fun dance instructor on YouTube or in person! Ride your bike around your neighborhood! I don’t care!
Whatever aerobic exercise you choose, just make sure it gets your heart rate up for 60 minutes a day.
Even a brisk walk can get that done, so don’t try to talk your way out of it.
Take It Step-by-Step:
Below, you’ll find a list of things I want you to do every day, especially the ones you find the most difficult. Losing fat doesn’t have to be hard, but it also isn’t easy. You must cultivate that dedication we’ve been talking about.
Step 1: Look in the Mirror
I know it might be hard, especially if looking at your chubby stomach and cellulite-pocked legs is as depressing for you as it was for me. But, you have to do it. Look at all those fatty places you hate – your tummy, legs, butt, arms, even the fat in your face – and realize that it doesn’t have to define you.
You are still beautiful or handsome, so don’t forget!
As you learn how to alter your diet and maintain daily, physical activity, I promise that you’ll begin to see a difference. It might take weeks, months, or even years, but it will happen.
You will begin to see your stomach flatten, your legs get toned, and your double-chin disappear. But you won’t see any of that without first looking in the mirror.
Step 2: Be Real
Now, I know you’re going through a lot. As a teenager, life just seems to kick you when you’re down, whether it’s sullied friendships, ridiculous assignments, college woes, or any number of issues.
The last thing you need is an extra 10, 20, 30, 100 pounds of weight holding you down. So, you might be tempted to blame things over which you “have no control.” It’s just hormones! It’s stress! I don’t have time to think about my weight right now! And though all of those things play a role, they are not the end-all, be-all.
Trust me, as soon as I learned that women have hormones that actually hold weight in the belly region, I shrugged my shoulders and thought, “See? It’s not my fault! I can’t do anything about that, so why even try?”
I also stopped exercising throughout high school and college, save a few attempts at starting a jogging or HIIT routine, to no avail. Why?
I convinced myself that there was no time for exercise, not when I had countless papers to write and exams to study for. And in those eight years, I yo-yoed from 115 pounds to 145! No muscle, just fat, stress, and sadness.
Step 3: Weigh Yourself (Every Day)
Many will disagree with me on this one: the anxiety-inducing daily weight check. Hey, I used to think it was pointless, too. I would get on the scale and see a number I didn’t like, even if I ate well the day before, and so, I would give up.
I’d grab a few cookies and be a sad potato on the couch. I’d stay away from that stupid electronic square in the kitchen day after day, ignoring it, pretending it didn’t even exist. But when I finally got on it again, I was even heavier!
If you don’t hold yourself accountable by checking your weight daily, you’re never going to cultivate the dedication needed for belly fat loss.
Now, I weigh myself every day, not just to see the number go down. I weigh myself so that whatever number is on that box can guide me through the day. Sometimes, weight takes a few days to show up. Other times, it’s there immediately.
So, if you just had a huge dinner to celebrate someone’s birthday, chances are, the number will be higher than you hoped for the next morning. Don’t judge yourself for that. You had a cheat day, and now, you’ll get back on track. If the number is lower than you expected, give yourself a pat on the back, but DO NOT take that as an excuse to pig out today.
And if the number is staying stagnant, don’t give up; oftentimes, fat takes days, even weeks to disappear. I’ve been stuck at 130 pounds for two months! But that doesn’t mean I’m going to quit. It’s all about dedication.
Step 4: Make a Good Breakfast
Don’t go for what’s easy. Although grabbing a Pop-Tart or a frozen chocolate chip pancake may be efficient, it’s certainly not going to help you lose fat.
What I suggest is to make yourself some eggs and bacon or sausage. All are high in protein and extremely low in carbs and sugar. Eggs and bacon/sausage are sure to fill you up, while not adding belly fat.
If you desperately hate those options, try having a piece of whole-grain toast smothered in peanut, almond, or sunflower seed butter! Again, you’ll get your protein intake, while also having a more nutrient-rich bread that’ll keep you full.
Step 5: Take a Little Post-Breakfast Walk
Even if you’re on the go, try to implement a small walk after breakfast. I don’t care if all you do is walk up and down the stairs in your house, just get your body moving a bit. It’ll reprogram your brain, making you more open to physical activity throughout the day!
Step 6: Go About Your Day (with a Few Minor Alterations)
Whether you’re back in school wearing a mask, taking classes at home, or juggling school and work, try to maintain a positive outlook. Yes, you may think of yourself as chunky, but try not to. Instead, consider yourself a work-in-progress, a wonderful person who’s trying to get healthier.
Many times, even skinny people don’t think about their overall health in the right way.
Throughout the day, choose to make better choices. Instead of the elevator, take the stairs. Rather than that Caramel Macchiato, have a bottle of water. These little choices will add up, helping to shave off those unwanted pounds of fat.
Step 7: Have a Healthy Lunch
Same as breakfast, try to have a balanced lunch. As discussed, go heavier on the protein and lighter on the carbs. Perhaps, have a couple of grilled chicken tenders with some mixed vegetables, or even a cheeseburger without the bun!
Step 8: Partake in Your Exercise of Choice
Once you get back home from school, or after your online classes are over, don’t just collapse onto the couch and watch TV.
Take an hour of time, or more if you want, to do something for yourself. Maybe you’ll decide to take a brisk walk around your neighborhood, keeping your eyes peeled for cool clouds or sneaky squirrels. Perhaps, you’ll try out a half-hour HIIT workout followed by a relaxing, yet sweat-inducing yoga practice.
Again, whatever it is you choose to do, make sure you feel your heart pumping. It’s so easy to sit down all day long. Be the person who chooses to be active, who chooses to lose that fat!
Step 9: Enjoy a Balanced Dinner
I know I must sound like a broken record here but have a balanced dinner. Same deal. Lower carbs and higher protein. That doesn’t mean skip your carbs altogether.
I tried that once and, yes, I lost weight, but I neither kept it off nor felt healthy. Eat more protein to keep you feeling satiated. Have your broccoli.
Have those mashed potatoes or that brown rice; just have less of it than the serving size. Serving sizes aren’t law; they’re simply ways for the companies writing them to get you to eat more, and hence, purchase more of their products.
Step 10: Have Something Sweet, You’ve Earned It!
As long as dinner doesn’t make you feel stuffed, go ahead and have a sweet treat to end out the night. Again, all I ask is that you don’t overdo it.
Don’t have a whole tub of ice cream; just have a scoop. Don’t have two cookies and a whole cup of chocolate milk; just have one cookie and a cup of regular milk.
Step 11: Get Those Zzz’s
If you’re starting to get tired, but you’re still stuffed from dinner, DO NOT go to bed yet. Try going for a short walk or doing some jumping jacks in your room. Going to bed full tends to mean you either ate too much or ate too late, and hence, you’ll probably gain weight the next morning.
If you aren’t stuffed, go to sleep! It’s as easy as that! Just try not to look at your cell phone; it’ll mess with your sleep patterns. Trust me, whatever it is, it can wait for tomorrow. Getting enough restful sleep will help boost your body’s fat-burning processes!
Now, remember, all of these steps should be accompanied by a positive attitude and plenty of water. Not only will water keep you feeling satiated; it’ll also make you an overall healthier person, allowing any toxins absorbed throughout the day to get flushed out of your system.
What’s the Bottom Line?
I know it might seem impossible.
I know you’re sitting there, thinking about the rolls of fat you’ve tucked into your pants or covered up with a pillow, not believing that what I’m saying could actually work. But I promise it will.
I’ve been where you are right now! You can do this, you can lose that fat, and you can learn to be a healthier, happier person.
Consider yourself ahead of the game. Thousands of adults struggle with obesity and have given up on trying to rid themselves of those extra fatty pounds.
You, a young adult, have chosen to start your fat-loss journey right now.
So, remember. The only way any of this will work is if you learn to love yourself. Your body fat does not define you. YOU define yourself.
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