physical fitness

Debunking misconceptions on losing belly fat

Beatrice Go
Debunking misconceptions on losing belly fat
Determined to lose the stubborn belly fat? Here's what you need to know to reach your goals

Most Filipinos still consider belly fat loss as their top reason of wanting to get into fitness.

In the last three months, REBEL – a local fitness app that provides free workouts, health education and recipes that uses ingredients that are readily accessible in the Philippines – conducted a survey among its new users.

Among the 120,000 Filipinos who signed up on the app, 79% logged fat loss as their No. 1 goal.

But losing belly fat is not just about about doing endless number of crunches and going on crash diets as what elders have preached in the past.

REBEL’s registered nutritionist and dietician Jo Sebastian debunks these previous misconceptions to help everyone lose fat in a healthy and sustainable way.

It’s not about the ab workouts and fat burners

There is no way to spot reduce, or lose fat in just one area.

“Losing fat around the belly is not all about ab workouts and fat burners. While working your core can build and strengthen muscle in the area, there really is no need for 96,000 crunches,” says Sebastian.

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Fat loss must start from lowering the overall body fat percentage, but Sebastian warns that there are plenty of factors to losing fat and it differs from person to person.

“Factors that affect ab definition are genetics and a very low body fat percentage that may not exactly be healthy for everyone to maintain,” Sebastian shared.

“Also, the way body fat is distributed differs from person to person, so you can’t exactly pinpoint where you lose fat from when you’re cutting down on calories and building muscle.”

It’s about sustainability

Sebastian suggests going into a moderate calorie deficit instead of crash dieting as it will drive long-term results.

“Moderate calorie deficits of 200 to 300 calories will definitely be more sustainable in the long run. The recommended daily calorie intake is 2,000 for women and 2,500 for men,” says Sebastian.

Sebastian also reminds everyone to be aware of fad diets and to remember that caloric deficits should be done sustainably.

“You don’t need to skip meals nor fast to reach your goals. Remember: if it’s difficult to maintain, then it may not be the best approach.”

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Bloating is normal

Bloating is not belly fat.

It’s something that often confuses and frustrates people, who have strictly followed diets and fitness programs.

“Bloating is normal, and it’s not always possible to have the flattest stomach 24/7,” explains Sebastian.

“We sometimes bloat at the end of the day and confuse that for weight gain or belly fat, when really, it’s just the food and drink we’ve consumed that day.”

“Our belly area houses your organs and is essential in helping you digest food. It helps keep you alive – and there’s no shame in that!”

Sebastian further reminds people to stay grounded on their fitness journey.

“Fitness is a continuous journey and everyone can expect results by keeping these three things in mind: stay active and exercise regularly, eat well and enough,” shares the body positivity advocate.

“And most importantly, never compare yourself to others because every body is different.” – Rappler.com

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Beatrice Go

More commonly known as Bee, Beatrice Go is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Philippine sports governance, national teams, football, and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.