Whilst a 2007 study found that a subtle spot reduction in arms might be possible in men, for most of us, losing belly fat comes down to lowering our overall body fat percentage. Everyone shifts weight differently due to genetics and bodily composition.
However, if you do manage to lose fat in a healthy and sustainable way, your tubby tum will eventually start to reduce in size, regardless of your genes. Aside from the archetypal "move more, eat less" mantra, here are some of the less obvious ways you can shift the pounds from the belly and beyond.
1. Mindful mealtimes
Eating without the distractions of phone screens and computers could help people lose weight, a Portuguese study found.
There have also been endless studies which prove that eating in front of TV can actually make you gain weight due to people snacking out of boredom and forgetting what they've already eating.
Be aware of what you are eating and how you are eating it - ideally at a dining room table with your iPhone stashed far away - and you're more likely to eat slower and feel full sooner.
2. Eat soluble fibre
Avocados, brussel sprouts, blackberries and flaxseeds are all excellent sources of soluble fibre, which absorbs water in the body, forming a gel that helps ease digestion.
Recent research has shown that regularly eating this kind of fibre helps with weight loss because people fill generally fuller and therefore will be less inclined to reach for sugary treats during the 4pm slump.
One five-year-long study of 1,000 adults found that for each 10 gram increase of soluble fibre they consumed, their belly fat decreased by 3.7 per cent.
3. Reduce stress levels
Stress causes the adrenal glands to produce cortisol in the body.
Often referred to as the "stress hormone," having high levels of cortisol is known to increase belly fat due to causing a surge in appetite that causes fat storage to build in the abdominals.
It's particularly prevalent for women, studies show, who naturally produce more cortisol than men due to their larger waistlines. Resistance training
Long gone are the days of slogging away for hours on the stair master, research proves that resistance training i.e. weight training is the key to gaining muscle mass and subsequently shifting fat in the stomach.
It's been proven to be particularly beneficial for those suffering from diabetes and one study showed how a combination of aerobic and strength training led to a significant reduction in visceral fat in a group of overweight teenagers.
4. Avoid sugary drinks
Everyone knows that Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite et all are bad for your teeth, but did you also know that they could be giving you love handles too?
Artificially-sweetened drinks (and yes, this includes alcohol) loaded with fructose cause the body to store fat in the liver and have been proven to cause substantial abdominal fat gain in a number of studies.
Because sugary foods are processed differently from sugary drinks, the liquid calories are less likely to fill you up and research shows that by drinking them you are more likely to experience an increase in appetite and store those additional calories as fat....