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Hi there, I weigh 51 kg (112 lbs.), and am 165 cm (5’5”) tall. I want to lose belly fat and build muscle. I do cardio three times a week (running on treadmill) and I do full body workouts the other three days a week. Is my exercise plan right and will it help me lose belly fat? I eat about 1600-1800 calories a day. I have to eat whatever’s made for dinner and that’s usually curry with rice or roti. I try to eat a specific grams of food a day for instance I eat 180-200 grams of carbs 70-100 grams of protein and about 60-70 grams of fat which has 12 grams of saturated fat. My body fat percentage is about 20%. Am doing the rights things to lose my belly fat? Please help and reply as soon as possible. – Shania



Twenty percent body fat is great! As far as your nutrition to lose belly fat goes, there are other factors to look at besides calories and grams. Plus your % macronutrient distribution (though on target) doesn’t really tell WHAT it is that you are eating. Even if dinner is set, you need to manage your portions and make the best food choices the rest of the day.

Look at the difference between the carbohydrate examples below (not full meals). Each contains 180 grams of carbohydrate but one has 60% more fiber with half as much fat.

Higher Fiber and Less Fat

½ Cup oatmeal

1 cup berries

1 orange

1 Cup plain yogurt

1 Cup tomato, cucumber, onion

2 cups greens

15 string beans

6” corn cob

1 small red potato

½ Cup vegetable curry

½ Cup rice

35 gm roti

Less Fiber with Higher Fat

1 medium pastry/Danish

240 ml orange juice

1 Cup frozen yogurt

1 large slice pizza

1 Cup vegetable curry

70 gm roti

As you can see one style of eating allows for high volume of nutrient rich foods while the other a small volume of calorie-laden foods. Your digestion and metabolism simply have to work harder to process the list of foods that have less fiber and higher fat. Plus higher volumes fill you up faster so you’re not as hungry between meals.

I have a lot of muscle tone throughout my body, but a bit of fat still in my stomach area. What foods can help me get rid of this stubborn belly fat?

The basic goal is to avoid added sugar while getting as much natural roughage as you can. Whether you eat only when hungry or at specific times, don’t continue eating if you feel full. Make sure the fats you are consuming are mainly from plants (such as nuts, seeds and oils) and fish. Adequate hydration is essential so be sure you’re drinking about 2 litres per day including a glass or two of milk and the remainder water or tea.

Our exercise experts agree your frequency of exercise looks good, but again, the details are missing. An hour on the treadmill doesn’t tell what intensity or pattern you’re following. Try using intervals and challenge yourself with a little incline. For your full body workouts, spend at least 10 minutes focused just on your abdominal muscles for a toned belly. Read here for 6 exercises to do without a machine:

Sculpt Your Abs in 2015 with These Advanced Six Pack Defining Exercises!

– Debbie J., MS, RD

Do you have a question about your diet or nutrition? Ask our dietitian by submitting your question to or simply ask it in the COMMENTS section below.

To learn how to follow the “Ask Our Dietitian” Q&A CLICK HERE!

Debbie James is a registered dietitian. Any views or opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or recommendations of Fitness International, LLC.



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