Belly fat is the most difficult thing to lose in most of us. Where in women the fat accumulates around the buttocks and hips, in men it is usually the abdomen where the fat accumulates. Losing belly fat requires the right approach for both men and women. In this article we therefore discuss the question of how you can burn belly fat.

Tackle abdominal fat

Losing belly fat is not just something you want from a cosmetic point of view, it is also important to tackle belly fat from a health point of view. The risk of lifestyle diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, is higher with excess belly fat than with excess fat around the buttocks, thighs and hips.

BMI and belly fat

The Body Mass Index (BMI) is often used to determine whether someone has a healthy weight. A BMI between 18.5 and 25 is usually characterized as healthy. The BMI gives us a nice answer to the question whether we are overweight or not. When determining the BMI, however, no account is taken of where the fat is located in the body. For example, someone with a ‘healthy’ BMI can still have too much belly fat because the fat mainly accumulates on and in the abdomen. If someone has too much belly fat despite a ‘healthy’ BMI, then this person is certainly running health risks.

The waist circumference and belly fat

To determine if we do not have too much belly fat, measure the waist circumference in addition to the BMI. You do this by measuring your waist circumference between the top of the pelvis and the bottom of the lower rib with a measuring tape. Men are in the danger zone if the waist circumference is larger than 94 cm, women are in the danger zone if the waist circumference is larger than 80 cm.

Burn abdominal fat

Burning your belly fat is done in the same way as burning fat anywhere else on your body. You cannot, in fact, burn in one place in your body. You burn fat by ensuring that you eat fewer calories than what you actually need. We call this a negative energy balance. The body will automatically start burning fat from its fat reserves if it cannot get enough energy from the diet. In addition to burning belly fat, you will also burn fat in other places on your body. It might just be less noticeable. A well-known consequence is that for many women breasts become smaller when they are losing weight.

Burn abdominal fat with abdominal exercises?

Abdominal exercises indirectly help to lose abdominal fat, but are not a way to burn local fat. You do lose abdominal fat with abdominal exercises, but that is for other reasons. You might as well do other strength exercises, such as imprints or squats. The effect is the same. With strength exercises you burn extra calories, which of course helps if you want to lose weight. And through strength exercises you get stronger and larger muscles. This is also the biggest gain: your metabolism will work faster if you have more muscle mass, so you burn more calories at rest. You burn approximately 70 kcal extra for every kilo of muscle mass.

Calculate your daily calorie requirement

As you know, women have an average need of 2,000 calories per day and men need 2,500 calories per day.
However, the actual calorie requirement varies from person to person. And depends on your height, weight, age, or your sport and how heavy your work is. Do you want to know what your daily calorie requirement is? Then search for ‘calculate calorie requirement’. You will then find all kinds of online calculation tools that you can use to calculate your daily calorie requirement.

Now that you know what your daily calories need, you can lose weight by eating less than this daily calorie requirement. A good guideline for this is to eat a minimum of 200 kcal and a maximum of 500 kcal less than your daily calorie requirement. A common mistake with people who want to lose excess belly fat is that they will follow a crash diet. With a crash diet you are about 1000kcal (sometimes even more) below your daily calorie requirement. Sure, you fall off quickly, but the problem is that after the crash diet the kilos are added just as quickly. The yo-yo effect. This is because in addition to fat, we also lost muscle mass due to the large calorie deficit.

The importance of proteins

The body uses three energy sources; carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Carbohydrate energy cannot be stored in the muscles for a long time and if we follow a diet the body will not get enough energy from carbohydrates. The body then uses other energy sources, namely proteins and fats.

To obtain sufficient energy, the body will use the fat from the fat reserves and start burning fat. Nothing wrong with that, in fact, that was exactly the intention. In addition to fats, the body will also start using proteins as a fuel.

Proteins are the building blocks of our body and play an essential role in maintaining and repairing our muscles. When we are losing weight, we lose muscle mass as well as fat. The loss of muscle mass makes our metabolism (metabolism) slower, which means we burn fewer calories. For every kilo that is lost in muscle mass, we burn around 70 kcal less every day. With a crash diet we will lose a lot of muscle mass due to the large calorie deficit in addition to fat. If, after a crash diet, we return to our normal eating schedule, the kilos will return. As a result of the crash diet – and the associated loss of muscle mass – we have had a lower daily calorie requirement. It is therefore important to ensure that we do not lose (or minimize) muscle mass when losing belly fat. We can do this by including sufficient protein in our diet plan. To lose belly fat, we can therefore use, for example, a low-carbohydrate or a protein-rich diet.


For burning (belly) fat we will have to eat 200 to 500 kcal less than our daily calorie requirement. This diet must be sufficiently protein-rich to maintain muscle mass. Following an exercise program, such as endurance sports or strength exercises, is optional and not necessary for losing abdominal fat.


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