Ex dancer, choreologist, and fitness expert. Author of The Kand Technique, and Fellow of the Benesh Institute at the Royal Academy of Dance.
The belly contains the stomach and bowels. This somewhat controversial article sets out how, over a period of a few weeks, you too can manage to lose your fat belly and, as a consequence, will stop feeling peckish and hungry all the time. How? By reading this article to the end and following four simple rules:
- Don't Eat Until You've "Been" - Empty your Bowels Before you Eat
- One, at Most Two Meals a Day
- No Drinking While Eating
- Omit or Reduce Meat and Dairy Consumption
Before elaborating on those rules, it is imperative to fully understand how the digestive system works as explained in the following short video.
Now that you know exactly what happens inside your body when you swallow a bite of food, you are almost ready to learn and implement the 4 simple rules to lose your belly naturally. First, we need an answer to the question:
What Makes a Potbelly?
What is the substance that makes a potbelly? Fat of course. There is a considerable layer of fat directly under the skin; you can pinch and feel that. It is called subcutaneous fat. Some subcutaneous fat is OK; it keeps you warm and cushions the bones. But there is more bulge deeper inside, underneath that top layer of fat. What is that stuff that makes bodies look like someone, male or female, is 7 months pregnant? The answer is that stuff is visceral fat. Visceral fat accumulates inside the body, surrounding, blocking, and interfering with internal organs. Visceral fat is linked to a variety of serious health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, decreased insulin sensitivity, and type 2 diabetes. See for yourself in the next picture.
Why Do You Always Feel Hungry?
An overfed, stagnant body that never moves much is going to become very unsatisfied. Not aware enough to identify the real cause of its discomfort, the "food-addicted" body is not sure why it is always feeling hungry. It attempts to appease the vague sense of ‘craving’, of feeling ‘empty’ by sneaking to the refrigerator, the chocolate box, or the drinks cabinet for unnecessary, even harmful nourishment. This cycle not only makes you fat, but it also creates guilt, harms your self-esteem, can give you indigestion, piles, candida, colitis, or stomach ulcers, diabetes, can make you obese, or even bulimic. Paradoxically, constant hunger and binge eating may actually be caused by malnutrition (a lack of nourishing food).
"Mal" means bad, nutrition is food intake. Malnutrition is normally associated with poor starving children in Africa. Less known is the fact that those who live on unhealthy processed junk food also suffer from malnutrition. If someone eats food that has lost most of its vital nutrients through the manufacturing process, then that person will crave more and more. Why? Because the body needs proper nourishment. So even when your stomach is full to the brim, with pasta, pizza, cheese, ice cream, and other animal products to stretching point, you may still suffer from malnutrition. For that reason you will always feel hungry because you are lacking the necessary components of a healthy, nutritious diet. So what is a balanced diet?
A Healthy Diet
Recap So Far
So far we have taken a thorough look at
- how the digestive system works
- why you always feel hungry and
- what is a healthy diet
Finally, you are ready to consider following the four simple rules that will help you change your lifestyle and lose your fat belly. The first rule deals with elimination (yes, going to the bathroom).
1. Don't Eat Until You've "Been" - Empty your Bowels Before you Eat
The first simple rule is possibly the most unconventional one and goes against common beliefs. But think about it: once the stomach has begun receiving a bite of food, it will want more until it has had its fill. A large, stretched-out stomach will want more food than a normal size stomach. Now consider that the body is a container for passing food and drink. If you fill it up before it is emptied out, you will create blockages (bloating) and traffic jams inside which will soon cause you discomfort. What to do?
The digestive system has taken a whole night to process the food you ate yesterday. A healthy body is ready to eliminate in the morning shortly after waking up. Would you stuff dirty washing into a washing machine before taking out the previous wash? Similarly, the digestive system must be clean and empty before eating the first meal of the day. Without this first rule: that you need to go to the toilet for a number two before eating anything at all, you will not succeed in losing your fat belly. If you have not been to the toilet today then don’t eat breakfast, or even lunch, until you've been. It is imperative that you make room in the digestive system for the food you are going to enjoy. The only way to do that is to visit the throne before stuffing more food down your throat.
Most of my clients presented with the "don't eat before you've been" concept say:
"Oh, but I can't go to the toilet before I eat. Eating helps me eliminate". What happens in that situation is that the new intake of food is actually pressing down the remaining (stagnant) content of the large intestine. A better way to avoid bloating is to make room in the entire digestive system before eating that first meal of the day. If you don't start eating, you won't want more because the digestive system is still busy completing its cycle from food consumption to elimination. What about constipation? Some people don't even "go" every day? Even more reason for a good cleanout to the system.
I learned this simple tip from a very good friend of mine who was brought up in rural Africa. If you cannot go or have difficulty having a regular early morning stool, then squat on top of the toilet bowl to do your business and you'll be amazed at how much easier the elimination process will be in this more natural position. There is a link at the bottom to a detailed article that explains why squatting is the best position for elimination and its many benefits. You can't climb up? The Squatty Potty helps you do just that.
2. One, at Most Two Meals a Day
Scientific research on the "Impact of Reduced Meal Frequency" (link at the end) suggests that an adult can live happily on one meal a day. This meal is best taken in the late afternoon after the day’s work has been done or early evening before relaxing or retiring. Don’t believe the myth that it's bad for you to go to sleep on a full stomach. In Mediterranean countries, people have a daily siesta after lunch to give the digestive system peace and quiet to do its job. It is only bad for you to sleep on a full stomach if your stomach is overfilled to the brim with food that is
- plus a good dose of alcohol
‘Oh, but I would pass out if I did not eat a little every few hours!’ I hear you think. why not try another way of gaining energy:
- Find a clean, quiet floor space to lie down on a yoga mat or folded towel for a few minutes.
- Stretch out fully, breathe deeply and feel your body relaxing into gravity.
- Close your eyes and meditate for 10 minutes while concentrating on your breath.
- Sit up and drink plenty of fresh water.
This simple procedure perks you up like a fresh breeze. It gives you instant energy so there is no need for that snack after all.
3. No Drinking While Eating
Although there's no concern that drinking water, while you eat, affects digestion, drinking while eating should not be necessary. If a meal contains enough raw, water containing vegetables or salad ingredients to moisten the mouth while chewing, you don’t need to ‘drink your food down'.
If you need to drink while you eat, it means that the composition of your meal is not properly balanced. Swallowing mushy, overcooked, dark brown food covered in sweetened tomato ketchup not appetizing. Such food has poor nutritional value and is not easily digested. Raw vegetables, rich in fiber, boost the preliminary digestive process. Chewing produces saliva, and its useful enzymes begin digestion before the food even descends into the stomach. Rinse the mouth with water that you drink after eating to clean your teeth but don’t, as a rule, drink during meals unless a special ‘wine and dine’ occasion demands the odd toast for social etiquette.
4. Omit or Reduce Meat and Dairy
Why I Became Vegetarian
The dance studio was situated in a courtyard shared with the back entrance of a butcher’s shop. Every morning a large van delivered huge carcasses which were weighed outside in the yard. The legs of beef that were hanging from the scales seemed much larger than the leg of any cow I had ever seen in a field. Is the meat enhanced with growth hormones or steroids? I wondered.
Flies were zooming to and fro from the garbage cans to the meat, happily gorging themselves on fresh blood. Stray dogs, cats and birds would negotiate any spare bones and leave their excretions behind. It wasn't long after moving in that we called in the health inspector who got the yard cleaned up. On the up side, the nasty experience was going to teach me the biggest lesson in my life.
Our Fatties Class
On Tuesday nights I taught a fitness class for our more weighty clients. Some of their thighs were so large, they strongly resembled the legs of the beef I had seen hanging from the butcher's scale. Some of the women's thighs were so fat, they were rubbing together, causing soreness between the tighs and impaired walking.
When I questioned our heavier clients about their diets my hunch was confirmed. They all turned out to be regular meat-eaters, some of them eating meat with every meal (that's, three times a day!). Are the weight-enhancing agents being transmitted to the consumer? Watch the next video to find out the bitter truth about the meat industry. We are what we eat from what they eat.
Advantages of a Vegetarian Diet
The positive side of this nasty story is that once I stopped eating meat I discovered a wealth of new tastes. I now spend a lot less time cooking and have gained better skin, hair, nails and teeth in the bargain. So if you are determined to lose weight fast, say good bye to meat. After a few weeks you won’t even like it any more. Cooked meat will look to you like rubber and taste like wet cardboard that stays stuck in your teeth. You don’t need meat, you are meat.
If you think it inconceivable to survive without meat, eat it only occasionally and not more than twice a week and make sure you know where the meat comes from and how it is produced.
How Long Will it Take To Lose My Fat Belly?
Using these four simple rules, it should only take a few weeks to notice a difference. This is the game plan:
Weeks One and Two – Skip Breakfast
Have a drink of fruit or vegetable juice instead of breakfast to help get rid of the previous day’s gastronomic abuse. Drink water throughout the day. By lunchtime, provided you've been to the bathroom, eat yourself to the full. Ditto for dinner time. By the third day or so, your belly will already shrink slightly from skipping breakfast. Do this for two weeks.
Weaning the Stomach
The stomach is a bit like a child: give it something and it will want more until it is full. If you don’t start eating first thing in the morning, when the digestive system has not even had time to empty its contents, your body doesn't really want any food. Not having been active since the big dinner you gulped down last night, the energy gained from that dinner has not yet been used. You might be in the habit of eating first thing in the morning, but as you will notice, and contrary to common beliefs, your body does not need any food at this early hour.
Weeks Three and Four– Skip Breakfast and Lunch
Once successful with skipping breakfast (it might take you longer than two weeks, you might fail and have to start again at the beginning) go on and skip lunch. Now you can get into the routine of doing something you enjoy rather than eating; like walking, or sleeping, or reading, or going to the hairdresser or library, clothes shopping, or whatever takes your fancy and distracts you from eating. By dinner time, again, eat as much as you like.
After the third week, your belly will shrink even more from skipping breakfast and lunch. Now you require smaller portions to fill you up at evening meals. Keep this up for two weeks. By now you begin to feel the benefits of gradually losing your fat belly.
Benefits of Losing Your Fat Belly
- Feel more comfortable in your body
- No more hemorrhoids and stool blockages
- Feel less bloated
- Have more energy
- Move better, be fit, strong
- More time to do the things you enjoy doing other than cooking and eating
- Save money to go to the movies, or buy some more essential oils for your bath pampering sessions.
- Fit into nice-looking clothes
- Look and feel better
- Be proud of your achievement
- Be in a good mood because your body is happier and more active
After the fourth week, your digestive system will be functioning normally. How do you notice? You longer feel bloated or hungry all day long. Plus, elimination takes place regularly once a day in the morning shortly after getting up.
While my own experience and most research supports the benefits of eating only one or two meals a day, any diet plan comes with some risks for those with diabetes, heart conditions or low blood sugar hypoglycemia.
Such risks may include:
- becoming extremely hungry
- inability to concentrate
If you have any chronic medical condition consult your doctor or dietitian on how to safely lose weight. In any event, watch the next video which explains more of the science behind losing your fat belly naturally.
How to Shrink Your Stomach Naturally
How to Keep the Weight Down
Once your belly has shrunk back to its normal size, provided your meals consist of real unprocessed non-addictive food, you will no longer be craving food all day because by now you are no longer starved of valuable nourishment. The portions will be normal and that is how you will keep the weight down for good, by giving your digestive system a well-deserved rest between meals.
Ode to the Digestive System
Think of your digestive system as an employee working every day for no pay, doing one of the most important jobs of keeping you alive. Do you ever give it a thought? No, it's taken for granted. Even when the digestive system is protesting with heartburns, bloating, constipation, desperately trying to tell you it isn't happy in its job, you ignore it. While all your digestive system wants is to be kept clean and given enough time to do its job properly. So why not show some responsibility and respect for this hardworking employee in the tower block of your body?
To Sum Up
Losing your fat belly by following the above 4 simple rules which are repeated here:
- Don't Eat Until You've "Been" - Empty your Bowels Before you Eat
- One, at Most Two Meals a Day
- No Drinking While Eating
- Omit or Reduce Meat and Dairy Consumption
So provided you stay clear of the poisons and own up to your digestive system's two humble desires:
- to be kept clean
- be given enough time to do its job properly
then you will succeed on your journey to losing your fat belly.
Good luck and please feel free to share your thoughts or ask questions in the discussion below.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Mikoak on August 16, 2020:
Great info and points!
I've been doing this for two weeks and have lost 3 kilos so far (78-75)
Surprisingly easy once you set your mind to it and food tastes great when u do start eating in evening
Juliette Kando FI Chor (author) from Andalusia, southern Spain on August 15, 2014:
You are welcome Lucy.
One more thing to consider: Often when you feel "hungry", your body may be telling you that the type of food you eat is not feeding you well. Your body may be craving for real, fresh, living food as against processed and packaged long shelf-life food which you can stuff down your throat until dooms day but will always leave you feeling hungry because it contains no valid, beneficial nutrients.
Lucy on August 15, 2014:
Thank you very much. I didn't know all of that and know that you mentioned it, it makes all sense. Thank you again.
Juliette Kando FI Chor (author) from Andalusia, southern Spain on August 14, 2014:
My answer is "No" you should not drink Herbalife. How can some artificial powder in a plastic box help you lose weight? Do not believe the hype. Rule of thumb, do not put any processed (long-shelf life) "food" into your mouth. Herbalife is not food, it contains fructose, saccharides (cancer giving sugar substitutes), maltodextrin, dextrose, corn syrup, soy or soya… stabilisers, preservatives, artificial flavoring or coloring. Plus... about 99% of all corn and soy comes from genetically modified crops.
I only drink pure water or genuine (home pressed) fruit juice. Think about it, all other man-made drinks are water full of sugar and other harmful crap in it. You can get all the vitamins and minerals you need from real food.
If food contains ingredients that you don't understand, look them up and when you find out what is really lurking in processed food you will want to stay well clear. I repeat: only eat real, living food.
Lusy on August 14, 2014:
Can I drink Herbalife in the morning and for Lunch? Will it still work then?
Juliette Kando FI Chor (author) from Andalusia, southern Spain on April 15, 2013:
I'm glad to hear that you are recovering from a serious eating disorder. One of the worst things about bulimia is that the acid coming up when you puke rots away your teeth. I know a forty year old woman who looks like 70 from the condition. Are you really overweight or do you only imagine you are?
Three meals plus two snacks for someone who is trying to lose weight is crazy. Your stomach never gets a rest.
Use less salt or no salt at all to reduce bloatiness. No salt-containing foods (read the labels).
As for trying the Sneaky Fast Plan, go for it but make sure that what you do eat is real living food, not processed junk food which is full of addictive agents that make you crave for more and more until you explode. I just wrote a new article with more useful tips for you: "How To Stop Eating – Binge Eating, Obesity And Food Addiction". Once you know the truth about the food industry and the pharmaceutical industry, it is safer to take responsibility for your own health by getting informed and avoiding doctors and medication.
Good luck in your endeavors for self-improvement,
Maddie on April 15, 2013:
Hi, wondering if this is okay as I was/am a recovering bulimic. Really struggling with the Dr's eating plan - three meals plus two snacks been doing it for months and my weight rockets at times. Well I get very bloated.
Everyone worries when I skip breakfast or lunch and my BM isn't great from laxative abuse. Found this really interesting.
Donna Hilbrandt from Upstate New York on January 27, 2013:
This is sort of what my husband does when he wants to she'd pounds. Sadly, he is not willing to give up meat. Interesting article.
Juliette Kando FI Chor (author) from Andalusia, southern Spain on October 18, 2012:
Rice is fine and actually very good for you provided it is not refined so all the goodness is taken out of it. Try to convince your parents to buy brown rice. Like everything else, eat in moderation. That means small portions. PS: 70% of every meal should be vegetables or salads. Follow the sneaky fast plan for guaranteed weight loss.
Natelie on September 28, 2012:
My problem isn't meat, it's rice. I live with my parents and eat whatever they buy for me, so dieting isn't really easy. I tried to convince them to buy quinoa or other substitutes, but they didn't like it. Is rice okay to eat or isn't that bad?
Juliette Kando FI Chor (author) from Andalusia, southern Spain on April 05, 2012:
As long as you feel good, stick to your own choices. Your body knows best what it wants to be healthy, so trust your basic instincts and ignore the myths and dogmas.
Juliette Kando FI Chor (author) from Andalusia, southern Spain on April 05, 2012:
Good for you Joel. Yes, lose the meat, definitely.
Jessica on March 30, 2012:
I have always told people this, and they told me I was unhealthy. I would skip breakfast and lunch, work out a couple of hours a day and drink lemon juice. Then I would have whatever dinner my family made for me being picky. I told people I was a vegetarian but really I was trying to lose weight, and train myself to quit OBSESSING over food. Well it work and I was not thin, but muscular and trim! now all I do is obsess over food and I am sick of people telling me what works and doesn't work. This is what works as I was 5 ft 7 inch and 135 and could not pinch an inch on me and was a junior size 7. Perfectly healthy in my opinion... not a 0 and not a 14 like I am now after having my baby. I am getting back on this and thank you for reassuring me that my original instincts at 13 were right!
Joel on December 04, 2011:
This is great, surprisingly enough i was already doing steps 1 and 2 without even knowing about it :D
The only thing i have left to do is take out the meat in my diet which should be easy as i used to be a Vegan anyway!
Thanks so much once again
Juliette Kando FI Chor (author) from Andalusia, southern Spain on November 07, 2011:
Just try not to eat until you've emptied your bowels for one day. If it doesn't work, try again for another day. You'll soon find that your digestive system will be glad for a break from eating when your bowels are still full of waste.
Jordan Klemenski on November 06, 2011:
I agree with some people who can't go until they've eaten.
Juliette Kando FI Chor (author) from Andalusia, southern Spain on March 02, 2011:
Good idea Barbara. Try it, you've got nothing to lose but a few extra pounds.
Barbara on June 01, 2010:
Very unusual ideas. But since all else that I've tried has failed, I think I'll give it a go.
Juliette Kando FI Chor (author) from Andalusia, southern Spain on May 08, 2010:
Have you tried ignoring all the advice yo've been given, stopped all medication and supplements and just eating what your body craves for? Obviously, if you are overweight your meals should be small and, why not try the sneaky fast plan bearing the above in mind? I am a great believer in "listening to one's body" as the body has an innate ability to heal itself if one doesn't interfere.
Suiiki from City of the Newly Wed and Nearly Dead on May 08, 2010:
How does this fit in with someone who has a condition that stops them from absorbing necessary nutrients from food, I wonder? The things I've been told to eat to keep my body functioning properly make my head spin, it's a miracle I'm not bedridden because of my weight. (Obviously I know that something is wrong with "proper nutrition" if it is causing excessive weight gain, rather than weight loss, when it is implemented.) I do take supplements so that I don't have to eat myself sick, but...
Obviously I don't buy the advice I've been given. Do you suppose that having "proper" blood levels of the nutrients I "have trouble absorbing" is what's making me sicker when I should be getting better?
Julia on May 08, 2010:
I tried this for a week and it really works. My stomach seems to be shrinking so I'm not so hungry anymore.
radha jackie on March 12, 2010:
I have been vegan for 12 - 14 years, I have a fruit smoothie for breakfast (100g blueberries, a pear and 2 bananas), fresh green leaves, carrot and cucumber with 100 - 150g humus for lunch and steamed veg for supper, I don't drink alcohol, I weigh 56k, am 1.7m tall, and I still have this 32" waist! I guess I'll have to stop eating some of this food and do more movement as recommended on the waistline page.
Juliette Kando FI Chor (author) from Andalusia, southern Spain on December 19, 2009:
Thanks for reading Hussains, I enjoyed your "We the Humans" hub. It shows you have insight.
Hussains from Olympia, WA on December 18, 2009:
Great Hub with excellent advice. Thanks for sharing.
Juliette Kando FI Chor (author) from Andalusia, southern Spain on October 02, 2009:
You're welcome advoco. I can't stop myself going against the grain, hoping to give people new "food" for thought.
advoco from cadiz on October 01, 2009:
You've packed a lot in to one article here and it is extremely well written, argued and presented. As I have got older I have paid a lot more attention to healthy eating and dieting and there are some very interesting - if quite radical - ideas to consider here. Thanks
Juliette Kando FI Chor (author) from Andalusia, southern Spain on September 27, 2009:
Good idea Madeleine! What a good way of learning another language. And it proves how much time you can gain by not having to prepare food, eat and wash dishes all day.
madeleine on September 27, 2009:
I play this game with my students when we learn words in French for certain foods: I lay out an assortment of toy plastic foods and they have to prepare breakfast for me in French. How about using that instead of a real breakfast? A foolproof way of reducing calories.
Juliette Kando FI Chor (author) from Andalusia, southern Spain on September 26, 2009:
Thank you Marisa for your comment. My views have never been mainstream. The beauty of Hub Pages is that authors here can express unconventional ideas and hopefully make a long overdue change.
Kate Swanson from Sydney on September 26, 2009:
I'm sure this Hub will have diet "experts" up in arms. We're all being told we MUST eat breakfast to get our metabolisms going, not to skip meals, and to drink lots and lots and lots of water.
Personally, I simply can't eat breakfast before around 9am and have actually been feeling guilty about that!! Thank you for making me feel it is OK to listen to my body and wait till its ready for its first meal.
I also agree with the advice not to drink while eating - I see so many people washing half-chewed food down their throats and don't like to think what that does to their digestion.