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5 Tips to Help Get Rid of Your Beer Belly

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Originally published October 12, 2021. Last updated March 26, 2024.

Updated March 5, 2024. Originally published October 12, 2021.

get rid of your beer belly

As men get older, it’s all too easy for those occasional beers with friends to start gathering around the midriff, especially if your job has you sitting down for prolonged periods. Despite the nicknames “beer belly,” “beer gut” and “brew belly,” alcohol is not the sole reason for an expanding midsection — it’s often a combination of unhealthy habits like poor diet and a lack of exercise.

We’ll explain all you need to know about what causes a protruding abdomen, why men are more likely to develop a rounder midsection, the health risks of too much belly fat and how to burn excess stomach fat. Learn more about how you can lose belly fat to become leaner and healthier overall.

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How to Get Rid of Beer Belly

Because the risk of having metabolic syndrome and other health conditions is closely linked with obesity, burning belly fat is an effective way to lower the chances of developing the disease and improve overall health. Below are some tips for how men can lose belly fat by making healthy changes in five core areas of their lives.

how to get rid of beer belly

1. Control Portions and Calories

To shed the belly fat, you’ll want to make changes to your diet. Here are some tips:

  • Control portion sizes and avoid processed foods: Most packaged goods and snack foods have ingredients loaded with trans fats and include tons of added sugar and added salt or sodium. All these processed ingredients make it difficult to shed pounds because they typically taste good without actually filling you up, making it easy to overeat.
  • Limit carb intake: Along with cutting out processed foods, try limiting your carb intake. While many people think they need to eliminate fat from their diet to lose fat, a low-carbohydrate diet is more conducive to weight loss than a low-fat diet. In addition to helping you lose more pounds, a low-carb diet produces a higher quality of weight loss because it does not reduce the body’s lean muscle tissue as much as a low-fat diet does.

Ultimately, you will need to adjust your mindset to form long-lasting healthy eating habits. Instead of thinking of changes as a diet, think of them as an eating plan. Luckily, adapting to a low-carb eating plan is relatively simple because it doesn’t involve counting calories.

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2. Increase Physical Activity

Exercising is crucial to losing a beer belly because physical activity can aid in the reduction of visceral fat. Exercise can help decrease fat around the midsection by pushing the liver to use up fatty acids, particularly from visceral fat deposits. To burn belly fat, you will need to stick with an exercise routine that includes a combination of:

  • Cardio: Regular moderate cardio is crucial for building endurance and aerobic capacity. Cardio exercises include running, cycling, jump rope, stair climbing and even dancing.
  • Strength: Be sure to include some strength training in your workout plan as well. Lifting weights will help your body build more lean muscle mass, which will cause you to keep burning calories throughout the day, even when you’re resting.
  • Core work: Try to target your core with moves that specifically work the abdominal muscles, like situps, crunches, burpees and holding a plank position.

3. Manage Stress

Chronically high levels of the stress hormone cortisol can cause you to store more fat around your belly. Stress management techniques like meditation or mindfulness can help you slow down and alleviate stress. You might also try reducing your screen time and spending more time in nature for the physical and mental health benefits it can provide.

Mindfulness and meditation are all about focusing on your breathing and ridding yourself of the worries firing in your brain. Over time, you may find it easier to cope with everyday stressors, preventing the risks associated with increased cortisol, like weight gain and belly fat.

4. Get Proper Sleep

In addition to higher stress levels, a lack of proper sleep can also result in unhealthy eating patterns and behaviors that cause you to consume more calories. In fact, one study found a lack of sufficient sleep caused a 9% increase in total abdominal fat and an 11% increase in visceral fat.

Tips for getting proper sleep include:

  • Having a fixed time to go to bed each night.
  • Reducing screen time before bed.
  • Trying meditation before bed.
  • Using a white noise machine to reduce outside sounds.
  • Blocking outdoor lights with blackout curtains.

Experts advise you to get at least seven hours of sleep each night for optimal health.

5. Surround Yourself With Support

To successfully adopt these new diet and exercise habits, you may have to make some changes to your social scene. Hanging out with health-focused friends can help you eliminate binge drinking, uphold healthy eating practices and stay accountable at the gym. You may naturally be more inclined to eat better and exercise more if your friends are doing the same, so find a community that embraces a healthy lifestyle.

Can You Get Rid of a Beer Belly Without Giving up Beer?

Yes, it is possible to get rid of a beer belly without totally giving up beer. However, it’s important to drink in moderation. Here are tips to reduce your alcohol intake to get rid of that beer belly:

  • Choose just one or two days a week to drink.
  • Stick to lighter beers, as they generally contain fewer calories.
  • Avoid unhealthy foods while drinking and stick to high protein, lean fats and vegetables.
  • Drink a glass of water with each drink.

While drinking culture and social events are often closely intertwined, it’s important to partake in moderation. Doing so is better for your body and health and can make all the difference in eliminating that beer belly.

What Causes Beer Belly?

Many variables can impact stomach size, from poor diet and hormonal changes to lack of exercise. Here are some common beer belly causes:

  • Diet: In general, it is too many calories that cause the waistline to expand, not calories from a specific source, such as beer. Whether they come from alcohol, sugary drinks, fried foods, desserts or oversized portions, any type of calories has the potential to increase belly fat. Most often, alcohol is consumed at a bar or a party, both of which tend to serve foods like pizza, wings, burgers, onion rings or other fried foods.
  • Alcohol: Alcohol has earned its reputation as a contributor to stomach fat because when alcohol is consumed, the liver works to burn off the alcohol instead of fat, which can cause fat to easily accumulate in the midsection. Additionally, when sipping on a beverage, it can be difficult to keep track of or limit calories because the beverages go down smoothly.
  • Age: As people get older, their beer bellies typically become more prominent because they are less active and have decreased calorie needs. This lack of exercise mixed with a high-caloric diet makes gaining weight easier. Additionally, hormone levels decline in both men and women as they age, making them more likely to store excess fat in the stomach area.

Why Do Men Get Beer Bellies?

The way that fat is stored varies between the sexes.

Men tend to store most of their extra fat calories in their abdomen because they have less subcutaneous fat. Because of these fat storage differences, men typically have more trouble getting rid of fat in the upper body. Men accumulate visceral fat, which exists within the abdomen’s internal organs, causing them to push them outward. This type of fat typically responds better to a healthy diet than to exercise, which is why poor diet and drinking alcohol are the most common causes of beer belly.

Alternatively, while women have more fat overall due to estrogen, women also have more subcutaneous fat — typically deposited in the thighs, buttocks and arms, as well as the belly. While it can be difficult to shed, it comes with fewer health issues and can even be a sign of strong metabolic health.

Why Is Beer Belly Fat Firm?

Understanding a hard beer belly starts with gaining a better understanding of visceral fat. While subcutaneous fat is soft and feels squishy when you poke it, visceral fat is firm and does not give way as easily when poked. Visceral fat accounts for only 10% of the body’s fat content, but it is a key component of weight management and overall health.

Visceral fat is found in the stomach’s spaces surrounding organs like the intestines and liver. This type of fat is stored within the omentum, which is an apron-shaped flap of tissue that blankets the intestines underneath the stomach muscles. As the omentum starts to fill with fat, it gets increasingly thicker and harder.

Health Issues Associated With Excess Belly Fat

Because visceral fat wraps around organs, too much of this tough fat can raise major health concerns. Namely, excess belly fat and poor visceral health can result in metabolic syndrome, which comes with a wide range of health complications, including heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Additionally, excess belly fat can lead to obesity and diabetes. Both conditions can increase your risk of heart disease and cancer, making prevention techniques like exercise, nutrition and stress reduction a necessity.

If you have trouble losing weight, it might be time to see a doctor. They can do a full assessment to ensure there aren’t other health issues occurring that need to be addressed.

Lose Weight With Individualized Programs From Synergy Wellness

While the tips listed above are great strategies for getting healthier in general, some people need a more personalized weight loss plan to ditch their beer belly for good. At Synergy Wellness, we have the resources you need to lose belly fat and stay well. Our individualized programs allow you to find the weight loss management tools that are best for you, from metabolism-boosting shots to medications that suppress appetite.

To learn more about the methods available for helping you lose your beer belly in a fast and safe way, contact Synergy Wellness today.

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About the Author:

President, Medical Director: Jan Trobisch, MD

Dr. Jan Trobisch graduated from the esteemed Freie Universität Berlin in 1999 and completed his residency training in Internal Medicine at Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield, California, by 2004. After his residency, Dr. Trobisch worked as a hospitalist and served as an attending physician for the residency program. He founded Synergy Wellness Center in 2009.

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