I have recently been reading and answering weight loss and exercise questions on Quora, and I felt compelled to write this post. Several questions there ask something along the lines of:
“What exercises can I do to lose weight or to reduce my tummy?”
These questions are so many that they show that many people still believe that the key to weight loss is exercise. This is not true. The key to weight loss is changing your food habits. I have deliberately said ‘food habits’ and not ‘diet’ because many people think that ‘diet’ is something unusual that you do only for a while, and then you stop.
I will not go into many details in this post, (you can read this post that compares calories from food and calories used in exercise) but if you want to lose weight (or lose fat), then you need to change your eating habits. You probably need to reduce the amount of carbohydrates you consume (especially sugary drinks such as juices and sodas). You probably need to eat more vegetables and protein and healthy fat. Yes, you need to eat healthy fat to feel fuller for longer and not get hungry and crave carbohydrates. I say ‘probably’ because I do not know your current food habits and your specific circumstances, but this advice usually applies to many people.
Exercise is good, and exercise can help you lose weight, but the bulk of weight loss is by changing your eating habits.
About losing belly fat in particular, if you want to reduce your belly fat, you need to lose fat from your whole body, mainly by changing your eating habits. Again, exercise is good, and exercise can help you lose fat, but the bulk of fat loss is by changing your eating habits. Doing situps is not very useful for losing belly fat. If you want to exercise for fat loss, and you are physically able to, then go for intense exercise, like jumping rope or sprinting. If not, you can simply walk or jog for the health of your heart and lungs, not necessarily for fat loss.
Once more, the key to fat loss is changing your eating habits.