The Most Effective Ways to Reduce Your Belly Fat & Hip Size

Your belly and hips may be difficult areas from which to lose body fat. While the concept of spot reduction may sound appealing, the American Council on Exercise states that selectively reducing fat in a particular area of your body is a myth. However, decreasing your overall body fat will reduce the amount of fat around your belly and hips, and will likely decrease the size of these areas.

Diet

Energy balance is the primary factor in losing body fat. In other words, you must burn more calories than you consume. Diet plays a key role in losing body fat, both the number of calories you consume and the distribution of those calories. To safely lose 1 to 2 lbs. per week, consume 500 fewer daily calories than what you currently take in. Include 10 to 15 percent of calories from high-quality protein, 20 to 30 percent from heart-healthy fats and 55 to 60 percent from complex carbohydrates. Select nutrient-dense foods to maximize the nutrients you consume in as few calories as possible. However, cautions Rutgers University, never eat fewer than 1200 calories a day if you are a woman or 1500 a day if you are a man.

Resistance Training

Diet alone may be less effective than a combination of diet and exercise in losing body fat. The American Council on Exercise reports that 89 percent of subjects who successfully lost weight and kept it off for at least one year employed a combination of diet and exercise, compared to 10 percent using diet alone and 1 percent using exercise alone. Resistance training helps decrease body fat not only because it burns calories as you exercise but also because muscle tissue burns more calories at rest than other types of body tissue. Therefore, the more muscle mass you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate. Select resistance-training exercises that target large muscle groups, including all the areas of your body, and practice them two to three times per week. Consult with a personal trainer to learn how to perform these exercises safely and effectively.

Cardio Exercise

Cardio exercise may also play an important role in body-fat reduction, particularly when your goal is to reduce belly fat and hip size. Cardio burns more abdominal fat than resistance training, a 2011 Duke Univeristy study found. Cardio exercise includes activities that increase your heart rate, such as walking, running, bicycling or swimming. Do cardiovascular exercise on the days you don't do resistance training. A cardiovascular workout, done for 30 to 60 minutes four to six times per week, helps burn calories as well as increasing your heart health.

Other Considerations

Avoid fad diets, including those that eliminate an entire food group; they may lead to nutritional deficiencies. Spread your daily calories among several small meals and snacks to keep from becoming too hungry and possibly overeating in response. When beginning a strength-training program, start slowly to allow your muscles and joints to gradually adjust to the new challenges. Finally, consult with your health care provider prior to starting a new diet and fitness routine.