Just a few tweaks to your diet and lifestyle can help you burn fat to lose weight.
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So you want to slim down and you want to do it, stat. While fast weight loss isn’t really the best strategy (it's not always safe or sustainable) and focusing on how you feel (vs. the number of the scale) is typically more effective for reaching your goal, sometimes you have a fast-approaching deadline, such as your BFF’s wedding, that’s fueling your determination to get after it. Hey, you’re not alone—plenty of people would like to know how to lose belly fat in two weeks. Spoiler alert: I was one of those people.

I struggled with an extra 25 pounds during my childhood, and I figured it was my genetic destiny to have a fixed amount of belly fat—that was, however, until I set out to learn more. Over the 20+ years in health journalism, I've been on a mission to learn everything there is to know about, yup, belly fat. But nothing I learned intrigued me quite as much as the recent research showing how we can override our fat genes to lose weight. Using what I've learned over the years and from these findings, I began to formulate my own advice on how to shed belly fat in 2 weeks.

The result? Zero Belly Diet, a plan dedicated to delivering readers with the best ways to lose stomach fat in 2 weeks. I created the Zero Belly Diet around the science of nutritional genetics, the study of how our genes are turned on and off by the foods we eat. Simply making a handful of tweaks to your diet and lifestyle can help improve your gut health, dampen inflammation, and turn off your fat genes. If you ask me, it's this is the ideal plan for people who want to know how to lose belly fat in 2 weeks.

Before scrolling straight to my tips on how to lose belly fat in 2 weeks, a quick reminder: It's pretty hard to spot reduce—some might say impossible—so no singular food or abs workout will help you magically "melt away" belly fat and belly fat only. What you can do, however, is lose belly fat while simultaneously reducing fat in other parts of your body as well. How? Below are some of my tips for how to lose belly (and other) fat.

Take a Brisk Walk Before Breakfast

Women taking a morning walk
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Before sharing the Zero Belly Diet with the world, I used a 500-person test panel to field-test my plan. Panelist Martha Chesler incorporated morning walks as part of her Zero Belly program and saw results right away. "I saw changes immediately," she reports. In less than six weeks on the program, Martha dropped reached her weight loss goals (and then some) by combining the Zero Belly Foods with a pre-breakfast walk.

This morning ritual works on two levels. First, a study found an association getting between early morning sunlight and having a lower BMI. Researchers speculate that the morning light helps regulate your body's circadian clock. Throwing off your internal clock might alter how your body processes food and lead to weight gain. But what really stunned Chesler was the improvement in her cardiovascular ability. Before starting the Zero Belly Diet, Chesler's heart rate would typically soar to 112 beats per minute (bpm) within moments of starting her exercise bike workout. "After the first week and a half I could not raise my heart rate over 96 bpm with the same workout," she says. "It was great to see a change in the mirror, and even better to know good things were happening that I couldn't even see." (In addition to a.m. strolls, try out these exercises that can help burn belly fat in 2 weeks.)

Start with Some Fiber-Loaded Oatmeal

Oatmeal with banana, blueberries, and chia seeds
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Naturally sweet oatmeal recipes in Zero Belly Diet were the key to panelist Isabel Fiolek's dramatic 13-pound weight loss. "I happen to have a big sugar addiction," says Fiolek. "But the recipes have been surprisingly satisfying for my sweet tooth." Fiolek also made dramatic health strides: A checkup after her six weeks on Zero Belly Diet revealed she'd dropped her total cholesterol by 25 percent and her blood glucose level by 10 percent.

So cook up some oatmeal and top it with some fruit. What's so special about this combination? Each provides soluble fiber that helps reduce blood cholesterol and feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut. By doing so, you trigger your gut to produce butyrate, a fatty acid that reduces fat-causing inflammation throughout your body. (Try these two-minute oatmeal recipes that'll make you an oatmeal fan forever.)

Choose Red Fruit Over Green

Watermelon
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If you want to make a simple swap that'll help you lose belly fat in 2 weeks, start eating red fruits over greens. That means Pink Lady over Granny Smith apples, watermelon over honeydew, red grapes over green ones. The higher levels of nutrients called flavonoids—particularly anthocyanins, compounds that give red fruits their color—calm the action of fat-storage genes. In fact, red-bellied stone fruits like plums boast phenolic compounds that have been shown to modulate the expression of fat genes. (Related: What Are These Phytonutrients Everyone Keeps Talking About?)

Load Up On Avocados

Avocado toast
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For test panelist June Caron, incorporating fresh produce such as avocados was one of the best ways to lose stomach fat in 2 weeks. The 55-year-old lost six pounds in the first week of following the program for how to lose belly fat in 2 weeks. "Learning to eat real, chemical-free, fresh foods has been the best thing that ever happened to me," she says. "I am never hungry and I'm still losing weight." Glowing skin, healthy nails, and better sleep were Zero Belly Diet bonuses, says Caron.

Avocados are a double-whammy for losing belly fat. First, they're packed with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats (aka good fats) that dim your hunger switches; a study in Nutrition Journal found that participants who ate half a fresh avocado with lunch were 40 percent less likely to desire food for hours afterward. Second, unsaturated fats like those found in avocados seem to prevent the storage of belly fat. (These creative ways to eat avocado will help you up your intake.)

Mix Up a Plant-Protein Smoothie

Green protein smoothie
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Test panelist Bryan Wilson, a 29-year-old accountant, lost an impressive amount of weight in just six weeks on the program, and he attributes his success to the Zero Belly Diet shake recipes. "I love the shakes. I added them to my diet, and almost immediately I lost the belly fat," says Wilson. "I crave sweet foods, and the shakes were an awesome alternative to bowls and bowls of ice cream I would have had."

Protein drinks can help you burn belly fat in 2 weeks and they make a delicious, simple snack. But most commercial drinks are filled with chemicals that can upset your gut health and cause inflammation and bloat. And the high doses of whey used to boost protein levels can amplify the belly-bloating effect. The Zero Belly Diet solution: Try vegan protein, which will give you the same fat-burning, muscle-building benefits, without the bloat. (Here's a complete guide to easy-to-digest plant proteins.)

Power Up with Eggs

Sweet potato and egg breakfast hash

You'll find lean, satiating protein in every single bite you take on the Zero Belly Diet. The muscle-building macronutrient is fundamental to the plan for how to lose belly fat in 2 weeks. Plus, eggs happen to be one of the easiest and most versatile delivery systems in the universe. They're also the best dietary source of a nutrient called choline. Choline, which is found also in lean meats, seafood, and collard greens, attacks the gene mechanism that triggers your body to store fat around your liver. (That's why eggs are one of the best foods for weight loss.) One Zero Belly Diet recipe, a breakfast hash with sweet potatoes and fresh farm eggs, became test panelist Morgan Minor's go-to breakfast, and after just three weeks on the program, the female firefighter was proof that the plan is full of best ways to lose stomach fat in 2 weeks.

Drink Citrus-Infused 'Spa Water'

Woman drinking water with fresh lemon, lime and mint
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One of the plan's top tips for how to lose belly fat in 2 weeks? Start each day by making a large pitcher of "spa water"—that's H20 filled with sliced whole lemons, oranges, or grapefruits—and make a point of sipping your way through at least eight glasses before bedtime. Citrus fruits are rich in the antioxidant D-limonene, a powerful compound found in the peel that stimulates liver enzymes to help flush toxins from the body and gives sluggish bowels a kick.