As dieters, we’ve all dreamed of having tight, toned stomachs with sexy six-packs. Unfortunately, abdominal fat is not only dangerous, it’s just plain hard to get rid of. For many of us, the midsection seems to be the first place we pack on extra pounds, and the last place we lose them.
But don’t give up hope just yet! Here are five proven secrets you can use TODAY to get a flatter stomach while you work to reduce that stubborn belly fat.
Secret #1: Reduce overall body fat.
There is no such thing as spot reduction. That is, you can’t lose fat in your stomach area without losing fat everywhere else. To get the lean stomach you want, you’ll need to reduce your overall body fat percentage. This can only be done through a healthy diet and exercise regimen that combines aerobic exercise with strength-training.
Start today by researching a food plan and exercise routine you’ll enjoy. The most successful plans feature diets high in lean protein and complex carbohydrates, plus cardio exercise and strength-training three to five times a week.
Secret #2: Fill up on fiber and protein.
Snacking on the wrong foods can sabotage your tummy-busting efforts. Keep your hunger – and your waistline – in check by filling up on whole grain oatmeal, fruits and vegetables, beans, lean meats, nuts, and olives. Foods that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish, help counteract the fattening stress hormone cortisol.
Cortisol sends signals to the body that cause it to go into survival mode, storing fat all over, but particularly around the midsection. Reduce your cortisol levels, and your body will start to burn through those fat stores again. You can reduce cortisol today by practicing relaxation and eating foods high in Omega-3s.
Secret #3: Stay away from salt and sugar.
Carbohydrates cause us to retain water (hence the –hydrates suffix). This can result in bloating, especially in the tummy area. Salt is another notorious bloat-inducer. Instead of loading up on table salt, try smaller amounts of sea salt, or a salt substitute.
For quick stomach shrinkage, reduce the number of carbs you consume each day. The ones you do eat should come from whole grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables. These complex carbohydrates help regulate hunger and minimize cravings.
Secret #4: Strengthen your core with regular sculpting exercises.
Exercise will help remove the layer of fat that hides your abs from view. It will also help shape those hidden muscles so that they’ll look great when they finally make their appearance. A strong core will also help you stand and sit upright, which has a two-fold benefit: Good posture makes you look thinner, and also gives you ample opportunities to work those abs by holding them taut as you walk or sit.
For the strongest, most sculpted abs, do core-strengthening exercises like sit-ups, V-ups, leg lifts, or Pilates three or more times a week. Vinyasa yoga has several poses which strengthen the core and help you clear your mind of stressful thoughts that stimulate cortisol production – a fat-busting bonus!
Secret #5: Drink water to flush fat away.
It might seem counter-intuitive to load up on water when you already feel bloated, but the fluid you consume actually helps your body get rid of the fluid it’s holding on to.
Bloating occurs when the body is dehydrated. In an effort to preserve its vital fluids, the body holds onto every bit of water it has, resulting in puffiness in the hands and abdomen. The only way to counteract this is to drink enough water to make your body feel safe again, allowing it to flush the retained fluid from its system.
A flat stomach is something you must earn over time, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make some quick fixes today! Starting now, you can:
- Shop for bloat-busting foods.
- Find a core-strengthening exercise plan that you enjoy.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Stand up tall! You’re already making progress toward your goal.