How To Lose Belly Fat Without Losing Weight – 7 Ways To Try In 2024

how to lose belly fat without losing weight
Seven tips to lose belly fat without losing weight. Photo: Drazen Zigic/Shutterstock

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Bodies change throughout your life. Episodes of gaining and losing weight occur as lifestyles change and priorities shift. Research shows weight loss and maintenance require a multifaceted approach.

Experts recommended daily activity for health and wellness. Exercise increases your daily activity level and changes your body composition. For instance, upper body resistance exercises target arm muscles and result in improving their composition.

Area target training does not apply to weight loss, since fat loss occurs over the entire body. However, body composition, the ratio of muscle to fat can change without weight loss. For example, you can change the belly fat to muscle ratio without changing the number on the scale.

So let us learn how to lose belly fat without losing weight.

7 Tips To Lose Your Belly Fat Without Losing Weight

  • Core-based exercise.
  • Resistance training.
  • High-intensity interval training.
  • Improve stress and sleep management.
  • Drink enough water.
  • Fat-burning foods, herbs, and spices.
  • Avoid processed foods and refined carbohydrates.

7 Methods To Lose Belly Fat Without Losing Weight

Some folks have flat stomach goals for aesthetic reasons. There is nothing wrong with wanting to look and feel good about your body. However, many people may not realize that accumulating abdominal fat can have real health consequences, such as increased risk for cardiometabolic disease.[1]

Cardiometabolic diseases from visceral fat accumulation include chronic medical conditions[2] such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, as well as cellular inflammation levels. To help you achieve your best health, here are seven methods to lose weight.

Core-Based Exercise

how to lose belly fat without losing weight
Performing pilates can help you lose belly fat. Photo: photoDiod

Pilates is one of the best core-based exercise regimens. Research indicates that pilates improves body composition[3] in sedentary women who are obese or overweight. Another study found that abdominal-based exercises[4] and planks were effective in reducing waist circumference after 30 days.

Abdominal-based exercises improve the muscular tone in the core. Exercise increases lean muscle mass which helps burn fat. The result is an improved muscle-to-fat ratio even if no body weight loss has occurred.

Resistance Training

If you want to lose body fat, start lifting weights. Research shows strength training improves your lean muscle mass which increases your body’s fat-burning ability. Using any combination of your body weight, free weights, or resistance bands to overload your muscles qualifies as strength training.

A systematic review and meta-analysis demonstrated that resistance training is effective[5] in reducing body fat percentage, body fat mass, and visceral fat in healthy adults. Another meta-analysis and systematic review reported resistance training to be an effective tool to reduce visceral fat.[6]

Therefore, if you want to know how to get a flat tummy without losing weight, resistance training is a super method. Participating in a regular exercise program provides the best chance of weight maintenance and achieving a healthy muscle-to-fat ratio. A daily run might be helpful as well so here are some tips to determine how many miles you should run.

High-Intensity Interval Training

how to lose belly fat without losing weight
High-intensity interval training can aid belly fat loss. Photo: antoniodiaz

High-intensity interval training or HIIT consists of intense activity and rest cycles. The high-intensity portion could be a mixture of body-weight exercises, running or biking sprints, or resistance or weighted exercises. Timed activity and rest cycle examples might be 40 seconds of high-intensity exercise, followed by 20 seconds of rest.

HIIT is an effective tool to improve body composition. Research shows HIIT participants demonstrated reduced total body, abdominal, and visceral fat mass.[7] The study described cardiovascular exercises like running and cycling, but HIIT offers a variety of exercise options.

Another study showed aquatic[8] HIIT improved body composition in sedentary young adults. If cardiovascular-based exercise is your favorite, here are some other options to try to incorporate intervals. Interval training is a time-effective method for increasing your lean muscle-to-fat ratios and your fitness level.

Improve Stress And Sleep Management

Similar issues occur with prolonged elevated stress and sleep disturbances. Sleep is important but can be affected by elevated stress levels. Getting enough sleep and managing stress are essential to optimal health and wellness.

Disturbed sleep patterns are associated with poor hormone and metabolic regulation. Studies indicate prolonged sleep disturbance[9] affects weight management. Prolonged heightened stress increases long-term cortisol levels, the stress hormone, which is linked to abdominal obesity[10] and weight gain.

Therefore, improving your stress and sleep management leads to improvement of hormone regulation and subsequently decreased abdominal fat.[11] Experts recommend aiming for seven to nine[9] hours of sleep for optimal body functioning. This article offers some insight into overnight weight loss and your body’s functions during sleep.

Drink Enough Water

Proper hydration is essential for optimal health. Dehydration affects the body’s ability to function normally. Dehydration can also cause water retention and a bloated belly, as the body tries to prevent water loss.

Studies suggest that water intake and water balance in the body are important for both weight management[12] and body composition. The proper balance of fluid intake affects body composition since body weight is 45% to 75% water[13] depending on different factors. Fluid intake recommendations vary due to individual activity and health needs.

Limit sugary drinks[14] since they add more calories and influence blood sugar control. Choose healthier options like plain sparkling water, tea, coffee, or 100% fruit juice. Sports drinks are not usually required for normal daily hydration.

A note regarding alcohol intake. Heavy alcohol consumption and binge drinking are associated with increased adiposity.[15] For this reason, those wishing to flatten their bellies should limit alcohol consumption.

Fat-Burning Foods, Herbs, And Spices

There are foods, including herbs and spices,[16] that have potential fat-burning properties. The following list highlights several food or plant sources that may affect fat burning, support metabolism, or improve body composition.

Further study is required to determine if some of these compounds can improve the body’s ability to burn fat but some show promise with belly fat loss. This link offers more information regarding herbs and weight loss associations.

Avoid Processed Foods And Refined Carbohydrates

Processed foods are a convenient option for busy folks. However, they contain excess sugar, refined carbohydrates, and trans fats that can have adverse effects on overall health if consumed too often. Higher processed food consumption[20] is associated with abdominal and overall body fat gain.

Trans fatty acids are formed during the industrial hydrogenation of vegetable oils and are used to solidify fats for items like margarine. They present an increased risk in certain medical conditions, including obesity,[21] and are associated with increased stomach fat. Processed foods such as cookies, cakes, and crackers contain high amounts of trans fats.

Refined carbs and excess sugars contained in processed foods have negative effects on metabolism and insulin stability and are associated with weight gain.[22] During your quest for losing belly fat without losing weight, limit processed foods due to their association with abdominal fat and obesity.

Is It Possible To Lose Belly Fat Without Losing Weight?

Losing fat without losing weight is possible. Exercise improves muscle-to-fat ratio, increasing lean muscle mass and decreasing fat mass. This process may not change the numbers on your scale but your physique will change. However, it is likely that utilizing some of the methods listed above may contribute to both.

High-intensity exercise will burn more calories. If your calorie intake changes and you eat more nutrient-dense food instead of processed food your metabolism will improve. This may result in weight loss.

If you change your mind and want to lose weight fast, you can apply all of the above methods and add a few from another article. However, lifestyle changes and slow, steady progress are recommended for weight loss.

However, if you apply all methods and lose weight quickly the result can present unwanted physical changes. Hanging belly fat can occur from quick weight loss. Here are some tips to manage that effect.


A healthy diet and regular exercise program are essential for optimal health and wellness.

Core-focused and high-intensity exercises are your best bet to flatten your belly. Proper water intake, avoiding processed foods, and trying fat-burning foods are effective methods to help your journey. Improving your sleep patterns and managing stress levels benefit your health and may affect your stomach size as well.

You can not go wrong with a balanced diet and amped-up workout routine for overall health. You may look and feel better.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I flatten my stomach without losing weight?

Core-based exercise and a healthy diet along with drinking enough water and avoiding processed foods can help flatten your stomach without losing weight.

How can I lose my belly fat only?

Try limiting processed foods, drinking plenty of water, improving your sleep, and managing your stress levels to lose belly fat only.

How to turn belly fat into muscle without losing weight?

Fat and muscle are two different types of tissue. You cannot change one into the other. You can burn fat by building more lean muscle mass.

What foods burn belly fat?

Research indicates some foods, herbs, and spices may aid fat burning. More study is required to learn more information.

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EHproject has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We work mostly with peer-reviewed studies to ensure accurate information. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

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Gina Vitale is a freelance health and wellness content writer and healthcare professional. A licensed physical therapist assistant for nearly 3 decades, she has acquired vast knowledge regarding treating and preventing numerous musculoskeletal problems. Her background… See More