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How Long Does It Take to Lose Belly Fat?

Here's How Long It Takes For You to Actually Lose Belly Fat — It's Faster Than You Think

Photographer: Kathryna HancockProduct Credit: Stella McCartney jacket, Off-White pantRestrictions: Editorial and internal use only. No advertising, no print.

If you're looking to torch belly fat and lose some inches around your waist, it may seem like a near-impossible feat. The belly is an area where many people want to lose weight, but it's a tough area to lose from; after all, you can't spot-target fat loss with endless crunches or five-minute planks.

The good news is, you can lose belly fat, and if you work hard and work smart, you could see results in a matter of weeks.

"Reduction in waist circumference can be seen in as little as two weeks," personal trainer and registered dietitian Jim White, owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios, told POPSUGAR. "Although the rate at which inches are lost depends on the person, with increased activity and calorie reduction, it is possible to see noticeable differences in your waistline."

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As far as the numbers go, Jim said you have to eat at a 500-calorie deficit each day to lose a pound a week (one pound of fat equals 3,500 calories). Just be sure you're eating at least 1,200 calories a day to keep your body and brain functioning properly. If you are losing weight with a calorie deficit and exercise, you may also be increasing muscle mass while you lose fat, so the scale would not be the best way to measure your progress. Instead, Jim recommends measuring your waist circumference to track fat-loss progress.

"A larger waist circumference is an indicator for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure," Jim said. "It is possible to lose inches from your waistline within two weeks of beginning a diet and exercise program, with the caveat that those with more abdominal fat will see larger decreases more quickly."

In terms of exercise, he recommends a combination of aerobic exercise, particularly high-intensity aerobic exercise, and strength training. One of the best forms of exercise to target belly fat is Tabata, a style of HIIT exercise that involves 20 seconds of intense work followed by 10 seconds of rest.

With the combination of exercise and nutrition, you will start to see results. Just be sure you are measuring your waist and not just paying attention to the scale.

"Those on a weight-loss plan who focus on both nutrition and fitness have been shown to reduce belly fat quicker than those who only focus on fitness or only focus on nutrition," David Chesworth, certified personal trainer and wellness coach, told POPSUGAR. Bring on the crop tops!

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Kathryna Hancock
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