Belly fat is often caused by poor dietary choices. In some cases, your stomach may be excessively distended due to bloating or poor mealtime practices. Either way, there are two ways to lose stomach fat that people tend to try – go on a cleanse or eliminate all offending foods and exercise to burn fat.
This three-day cleanse involves limiting foods that can contribute to excess belly fat and replacing them with healthy options. It also includes an exercise plan for overall fat reduction.
What Is a 3-Day Cleanse?
A three-day cleanse is a short-term dietary plan involving the elimination of unhealthy foods and replacing them with nutrient-rich options to help reduce belly fat. This type of cleanse typically lasts for three days, hence the name. It aims to detoxify your body, which will get rid of toxins and reduce inflammation.
Cleaning up your diet is one way to do a three-day cleanse, but there are other popular, less effective, and downright dangerous ways to cleanse.
Don’t buy into fad diets – they will only do you more harm than good. Such diets promise extreme weight loss in a short time period, but the reality is that most of this weight is water weight, which is generally gained again once you stop the diet.
It’s also important to bear in mind that the word “cleanse” is used quite loosely here. Your body is perfectly equipped to detoxify itself and it does so daily. By cleaning up your diet, all you’re doing is supporting its natural detoxification process.
What Causes Belly Fat?
Belly fat refers to fat around the abdomen. There are two types of adipose tissue (15):
- Visceral: This fat surrounds a person’s organs.
- Subcutaneous: This is fat that sits under the skin.
Health complications from visceral fat are more harmful than those from subcutaneous fat. Having too much visceral fat can increase your risk of (5):
- heart disease
- heart attacks
- high blood pressure
- type 2 diabetes
- breast cancer
- colon cancer
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Common causes of belly fat include:
Processed foods, fast food, and sugary foods all increase your chances of having belly fat.
While these foods are calorie-dense, they won’t satisfy hunger for long periods of time. You’ll need to eat large portions of these to feel satisfied and overeating will lead to excessive weight gain (18).
Sometimes your diet choices can cause you to feel bloated and your stomach to appear distended. Bloating is caused by gas, fluid, or a combination of the two expanding your intestines. This isn’t the same as having belly fat, but it causes abdominal swelling and discomfort (4).
Bloating can also be caused by swallowing too much air and is a result of gas building up in your intestines. One way we swallow air is when we eat or drink too quickly and don’t chew properly.
Bloating can also be caused by chewing gum, smoking cigarettes, or drinking carbonated beverages. These activities may all cause you to swallow excess air. Your body then absorbs this into your bloodstream and distributes it throughout your digestive tract. While it is not harmful to your health, bloating can be uncomfortable.
Allergies and Intolerances
Many people who experience frequent bloating are lactose intolerant. They have difficulty digesting milk sugar (lactose) and may develop bloating after they consume dairy products such as ice cream, milk, or cheese. Lactose intolerance symptoms include bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhea (12).
Bloating can also be caused by intolerances to food. If you experience bloating after having eaten a certain food, this may indicate an intolerance to that particular item. Common culprits include nuts, strawberries, wheat flour and other grains, and beans.
Celiac disease is another cause of abdominal bloating. This is an autoimmune condition that is triggered by gluten in people with a genetic predisposition.
People with this condition experience symptoms that are similar to an allergic reaction when they consume foods that contain gluten. Symptoms include bloating, excess gas, diarrhea or constipation (or both), abdominal pain, nausea, headaches, rashes on the arms or legs, and fatigue.
Celiac disease may go undiagnosed if you continue to eat gluten, which can lead to serious health problems. You should talk to your doctor about whether or not you need to be tested for celiac disease (16).
If the bloating is caused by a food intolerance, removing it from your diet will reduce your symptoms. The time it takes for these symptoms to subside varies, depending on how severe and long-term the reaction is in your body.
In most cases, intolerances are temporary and should disappear within two weeks of the irritant being removed. Working with a registered dietitian can help identify the cause of your symptoms and a diet plan can then be crafted to ensure you still get the nutrients you need without any discomfort.
In rare cases, a bloated and distended tummy may be a sign of a medical issue such as:
- irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
- pancreatic insufficiency
- fluid accumulation in the abdominal cavity as a result of liver disease or kidney failure
You should talk to your doctor if you suspect any of these conditions are contributing to your symptoms.
If you do not use up the calories you consume, they will be stored in your body for future use as body fat.
If someone sits all day at work or has an active job but does not move around much, then their calorie expenditure will be low compared to someone who is more active and burns off more calories. Belly fat can be gradually reduced through regular exercise (6).
Excessive Alcohol Consumption
Excessive alcohol consumption can cause fat accumulation in the liver and ultimately lead to serious liver damage. Abdominal fluid accumulation is a common side effect in the later stages. The more you drink, the greater your risk of expanding your waistline.
Insufficient sleep increases cortisol during the day and higher levels of cortisol lead to increased visceral (belly) fat deposits (11). Getting a minimum of seven hours of sleep every night will keep the body on an even hormonal balance throughout each 24-hour cycle and reduce overall stress which keeps cortisol under control.
Some people may have genetics that make them more likely to store belly fat (8). There is usually a strong family history of obesity and those who are genetically predisposed to abdominal fat can reduce their risk by maintaining a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly.
There are other factors that can lead to the storage of belly fat, but the ones that are listed above appear to be the most prevalent causes. By making simple changes to your diet and lifestyle, or even quitting certain behaviors altogether, you will notice an improvement in your health, which should decrease your susceptibility to getting excess body fat around the waistline.
How to Get Rid of Belly Fat
Poor nutrition and lack of exercise are the two main reasons why your belly isn’t flat. In order to get a toned abdomen, you must make changes that boost fat loss and help you get back on track. Some people may opt for a cleanse to kick off this journey.
The easiest way to lose weight is to aim for steady and consistent progress (20). Fasting for three days may work temporarily, but the results won’t last for long and you’ll regain any lost weight you lose the moment you start eating again.
Here’s the best three-day cleanse for weight loss that involves going on a diet of healthy foods, in combination with regular exercise. This isn’t a quick fix and is intended to jump-start your transition into a healthier lifestyle.
How To Do the 3-Day Cleanse to Lose Belly Fat
Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t need to go extreme and live on just water and lemons when doing a cleanse. This version involves cutting out unhealthy foods and habits that may be making your stomach appear large and distended.
Here’s how to do it:
Step 1 – Avoid These Foods
Start by avoiding foods that tend to contribute to weight gain. This means you need to eliminate fatty and processed meats, refined grain products, and possibly dairy products such as milk, cheese, and butter (but only if you suspect you are intolerant and that is what is causing bloating and distension).
You should also avoid highly processed foods with added sugars and/or lots of sodium (such as snacks and sweets) as well as sugary drinks. You may decide to avoid alcohol too.
It may be hard to resist your favorite snacks and beverages initially, but if you can manage it for three days, you might not feel as if you need them as often later on. This is one of the benefits of cleanses – they stay with you even when you’re not doing them.
Step 2 – Eat These Foods Instead
Next, start to consume healthy alternatives to the forbidden food groups for three days. Pay attention to how your body reacts to some of these foods and eliminate them if you think they’re causing you to bloat (1).
Colorful Fruits and Vegetables
These are full of fiber and can help you maintain a healthy gut. They’re also rich in antioxidants that can ward off disease and keep you looking young (10). You should aim to have at least five servings of these per day and include them in every meal or snack.
Green juices are great as they contain a lot of vitamins and not too many calories or fat. However, you need to be wary of sugar content in commercial varieties. Try making these at home with organic produce or simply eat whole fruits and vegetables.
Berries are good for your health as they are high in fiber and antioxidants (3). You can use these as natural sweeteners in your oatmeal or as healthy snacks to give yourself an energy boost in the middle of the day.
Lean Meats and Plant Protein
Lean meats and poultry will most likely be your protein of choice when you’re trying to reduce your body fat percentage and get a flat tummy. This is because they are high in protein and low in fat, which is the ideal ratio for a weight loss diet (14).
However, you should be careful as some meats can also be a major source of sodium, which can cause water retention. You may want to cut back on processed foods as part of your weight loss plan, so deli meats and sausages are best avoided (9).
Seafood and plant protein sources (such as beans, nuts, and seeds) are also wonderful, lean sources of protein.
Filling up on healthy carbohydrates such as whole grains is a great way of losing stomach fat and achieving slim thighs. Whole grains contain fiber (which slows down digestion) and complex carbs that release glucose slowly into the bloodstream. This process helps stabilize blood sugar levels and keeps your energy levels up during the day (21).
You can replace your usual starches with whole grains such as whole wheat pasta, brown rice, or breakfast cereals that are made of whole oats and barley. Starchy vegetables are also a great source of complex carbs.
In moderation, healthy fats are an excellent source of fuel for your body. Olive oil and avocado are great sources of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.
Omega 3 fatty acids are also good for you as they may help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels (13). You can enjoy these in fish such as sardines and mackerel, or in walnuts and flaxseeds.
To top it off, you should drink plenty of water to get rid of belly fat. It may also be a good idea to drink herbal tea or fennel or ginger water (2).
Water has many proven weight loss benefits, so you should aim to drink approximately eight glasses per day (at least) (19).
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Step 3 – Exercise Regularly
You should exercise regularly, even if you’re not on a cleanse to lose belly fat. This is something we all know we should do more of, but we don’t always have the motivation to stick with it. The best way to exercise is by increasing your activity slowly over time rather than jumping straight into intense training sessions or marathons (17).
The exercise plan for this cleanse involves abdominal workouts, which target the core muscles that stabilize and give definition to your stomach region. There are many ways you can do these exercises, but let’s take a look at the exercises that are the most beneficial for flat abs:
- Plank exercises: These are great as they work out every abdominal muscle and improve your core stability.
- Crunches: Crunches work the upper part of the stomach.
- Side crunches: These are really effective for toning the obliques, which are very difficult to tone, although they don’t have that much fat in them.
Incorporating cardio such as jogging, walking, swimming, or cycling is also helpful for fat loss and the movement can help stimulate healthy bowel function.
Step 4 – Reintroduce Foods and Habits Gradually
You should gradually reintroduce dairy and meat products after three days if you’ve given them up. You should continue eating mostly healthy balanced meals while also occasionally enjoying your favorite treat foods if they tend to be high in sugar, sodium, or saturated fat.
You should also keep consuming lots of fiber from fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains so you won’t have any problems with digestive issues or constipation (7). Try not to skip meals as this will only make you more hungry in the long term.
It’s important to remember that all diets are just temporary solutions for losing weight, but good nutrition is something you should always stick with, even after reaching your ideal weight.
Read more: 8 Drinks to Burn Belly Fat The Healthy Way
Does a 3-day cleanse help you lose weight?
Yes, going on a three-day cleanse can result in weight loss. This is because it involves cutting out processed and unhealthy foods that cause bloating and water retention. Therefore, most of the weight you lose in three days will most likely be water weight.
A three-day cleanse can help kickstart a lifelong habit of healthy eating and exercise, which can lead to long-term weight loss.
Can a 3-day detox reduce belly fat?
No, a detox alone is not enough to specifically target belly fat. In order to lose belly fat, it’s important to maintain a healthy and balanced diet and engage in regular exercise. Furthermore, spot reduction (targeting fat loss in a specific area) is not possible – weight loss will occur all over the body, including the belly.
That said, a “detox” can shrink the size of your belly if you are bloated or constipated. By eliminating unhealthy foods and adding more fiber-rich, nutritious foods to your diet, you can reduce bloating while improving digestion.
How can I slim my body in 3 days?
You cannot slim your body in three days. “Slimming” or losing weight requires long-term lifestyle changes and consistency.
A three-day cleanse can help jumpstart weight loss and a healthier lifestyle, but it won’t lead to significant weight loss in three days. It’s important that you realize there are easy ways of losing belly fat that involve focusing on making sustainable changes for long-term results.
Is it safe to do a 3-day cleanse?
Yes, and no – it is dependent on how you go about it. A three-day cleanse involving restricting calories and only consuming juices or liquids may not provide enough nutrients for your body and could be harmful to your health.
Conversely, a cleanse involving the incorporation of healthy and balanced meals, in addition to exercise, can be safe and beneficial for your body. It’s important to consult a healthcare professional before you start any cleanse diet or drastic diet change.
The Bottom Line
The three-day cleanse is an excellent way of starting your weight loss journey, but the results won’t be permanent if you don’t keep up the new healthy habits once you’re done with it.
It’s important to remember that the key to long-term success is making gradual changes rather than taking drastic measures such as cleanses and fad diets. If you are serious about getting rid of belly fat, you should make the steps you take slow and consistent over time.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
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