How to get rid of that 'six-pack of beer' you've been carrying around?
During lockdown, many of us have an opportunity to reflect on what's most important to us. With gyms not open and being stuck indoors, it is harder than ever before to achieve our health goals.
According to a new King's College London survey of 2,254 people, 48% of respondents said that they have put on weight during lockdown. Belly fat is one of the easiest places to gain weight but is also the hardest to lose.
If you found yourself drinking a lot of beer during lockdown and your belly growing more than usual - have no fear, this is how you can get rid of your beer belly quickly.
What Causes A 'Beer-Belly'?
Drinking alcohol, particularly among men, often leads to a beer belly - clinically called "abdominal obesity".
A study has found that the more alcohol you drink, the higher your waist circumference. It isn't surprising considering alcohol's calories.
While beer may be the main contributor, other things might also be indirectly responsible. We often have other goodies with beer: Pizza, Crisps and other high-calorie foods for a nice cold pint of lager to wash down.
Recently, studies have also found that drinking beer interferes with your body's ability to burn fat on its own, prioritising the breakdown of alcohol over fat.
For men here: too much alcohol consumption is also linked to reduced testosterone levels, which makes accumulating belly fat a lot easier.
How To Get Rid Of Them?
To be honest, there is really no shortcut to this. Many programs and supplements are claiming Targeted Fat Loss, but realistically, it most likely won't work.
If you lose weight in general, your beer belly will usually shrink as a side-effect. Many usually describe losing weight in simple terms such as:
"Consume Less Calories Than You Burn."
But that's not it. Remember, not all calories are created equal. Someone having 2000 Calories' worth of sweets vs someone having the same calories in a balanced diet will have significantly different results.
1:1 Beer and Water.
For every glass of beer, take a break and have a glass of water. This is one of the most practical and easy-to-keep techniques I've discovered when I was still drinking. The 1:1 ratio of beer and water does two things:
- Controlling Volume. You can only drink so much liquid at a time. If you substitute half of your consumption with water, it will reduce the total amount of beer drank, thus controlling your intake.
- Hydration. Not only will it flush out the alcohol quicker (which resumes fat-burning), staying hydrated is also an important element to staying lean.
If, like some of my friends, you simply just can't down a pint of water or you'd feel like it's a buzz-kill, there are also other ways to do it.
While connotations of fasting can sound negative and extreme; a controlled, intermittent version of it has been known to be healthy and highly effective. There has been a recent surge in popularity with IF (Intermittent Fasting), with the likes of Huge Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Beyoncé swearing by it.
Not only do you lose weight, your blood pressure, blood sugars and cholesterol also improves.
There are quite a few ways of doing it, these are my favourites ranked from easiest to most effective:
- 5:2. Eat regularly for 5 days a week and 2 days of eating only 400-800 calories. An example would be eating normal every day of the week except Tuesday and Wednesday.
- 16:8. Fasting for 16 Hours a day (including sleep) and eating for 8. An example would be having your last meal at 8pm and your next meal at 12pm the following day.
- 20:4. This is one of the harder options, but if you want quick results, this is it. Fast for 20 hours and eat for 4. An example would be having your last meal at 6pm and your next meal at 2pm the next day.
Intermittent Fasting has been demonstrated to be completely safe, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine which summarises decades of research on intermittent fasting.
More Protein. Less Carbs. (+Vegan Tips)
Since beer is mostly carbohydrates and sugar, combined with alcohol, you have yourself a perfect recipe for inhibiting fat loss. One particularly effective way is to do the following:
- Increase your protein intake. At least 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight (or 2.2 grams per kilo)
- Decrease your carbohydrate intake. Less than 1 gram of carbs per pound of body weight (or 2.2 grams per kilo)
Here is why it works:
- Protein Burns Calories. A high protein intake can make you burn 80-100 more calories per day. It also reduces your appetite.
- Carbs Make You Look Bloated. For every one gram of carbohydrate stored in your body (as glycogen), it retains about 2x-3x its weight in water.
What if you're vegan? Having enough protein is already difficult, how do we make it more realistic? Focus on more on these foods:
- Soybeans. One of the few 'complete vegan protein sources.
- Beans and Legumes. Naturally high in protein.
- Quinoa. High-protein grains (but some of its calories are carbs!)
- Nuts and Seeds. Great for snacking and easy protein boost.
- Plant-based Protein Shakes. Quickest and most effective way of boosting protein intake.
This is quite an obvious one. The more calories you burn, the more likely your beer belly goes away.
- Try and get 3-5 solid workouts in a week.
- If you can't, take 15 minutes a day to perform some mini-workouts during the day.
Drink Less Beer.
It's not easy going cold-turkey but you want to get rid of that belly, you'll have to moderate your drinking. Try and focus on one or two days a week where you drink and keep the rest alcohol-free.
Try to only drink in social occasions and avoid building up a habit of drinking alone, it reduces the urge to cheat when you're not supposed to.
In conclusion, beyond those tips above, saying goodbye to a beer belly doesn't have to mean giving up the relaxation and social aspect of enjoying a cold brew.
IMPOSSIBREW's non-alcoholic beer offers a delicious and refreshing alternative that allows you to unwind without the negative consequences of alcohol. Whether you're looking to improve your health, increase productivity, or simply avoid a hangover, IMPOSSIBREW is the perfect choice for anyone looking to enjoy the taste of beer without the alcohol.
So, next time you're looking to relax and unwind, consider picking up a non-alcoholic beer from IMPOSSIBREW and wave goodbye to your beer belly for good.