You decided the round shape of your belly doesn’t serve you well. Perhaps it doesn’t make you look like you desire, or it prevents you from getting into your favorite pair of jeans. Or, you just don’t like the way it’s protruding from that alluring bodycon dress.
Whichever may be the source of your discontent, know that there are ways to diminish the fat on your abdomen and make it look flatter. There are actually no less than 20 carefully chosen methods you can try right now.
1. Timing your meals
There has been extensive talk about how important it is to have three regular meals a day. A schedule like this has great benefits to health, as well as to one’s metabolism and weight. It’s not enough, however, to have three meals scheduled evenly and at the same hour each day. The time of the day also matters tremendously.
This is because our body functions differently, depending on the hour. Some organs are more active in the morning, while others reach their peak of activity in the afternoon. Later in the evening, the body slows down its activity as it no longer has much energy to spend. Armed with such knowledge, you can begin to alter your daily schedule to work in your favor. To begin with, don’t have dinner (nor snacks) too close to your bed time.
You must stop eating at least 2 hours prior of going to sleep. It’s best to have dinner around 6 pm if that’s possible. When your food remains undigested in your stomach or your small intestine overnight, you risk packing on pounds.
This is because the body doesn’t need to transform that food into energy. You’re in resting mode, therefore it fails to digest properly and stored nutrients as fat. Since you’re not moving around and the blood circulation during sleep is not as during the active hours, fat cells are not transported evenly throughout the body.
The result: fat stays in your belly area instead of ‘traveling’ further. This is why so many people accumulate fat around their abdomens while they stay skinny in all other areas.
Another tip is to eat a protein snack between 3 pm and 4 pm. It has a metabolism boosting effect, at the same time regulating blood sugar levels. The latter is the key to avoid fat accumulation around your waist.
2. Meal sizing and spacing
This tip also deals with meal timing, but also with the quantity of food you ingest. Some people can’t do much about the food they need – they get hungry and, even if they exercise portion control, they still put on weight.
Why is this happening? Because of how our metabolism works. If you feed yourself seldom, the body believes the food is scarce, even if your meals are big. It will thus begin to store fat, knowing it will take some time until you feed it again.
On the other hand, if you eat smaller meals with a greater frequency (5 per day), it will not go into ‘panic mode’; your body will get rid of the surplus, since you’re going to feed it soon again. That speeds up your metabolic rate.
3. Floor exercises with a stability ball
Exercising with a stability ball makes you contract many muscle groups, including the abdominal ones.
Lying with your back flat to the floor lets you pass the ball from your hands to your feet or between your ankles.
You can exercise this way and vary your moves. The contractions will do you good. Try to exercise continuously, for at least 10 minutes.
4. Keeping sugar consumption low
Sugar is bad not only because of its calorie count. It triggers the insulin response and when you get a sugar spike it’s never good. It can lead to a serious imbalance and cause diabetes.
When you begin putting on weight because of these reasons, it becomes extremely hard to shed it. This is why you need to keep sugar to a minimum. Keep in mind that modern diets sadly have plenty of sugar – it’s almost everywhere, even in ordinary bread, not to mention sweets, sauces (ketchup too!), juice, sports drinks and so on. The best way to avoid sugar in excess is to prepare your own food.
5. Put cardio first
The first type of exercise people rush to when they get belly fat is doing crunches. Everyone believes this is all you need to do to melt that fat away, when cardio is in fact the most effective form of exercise.
Cardio elevates your heart rhythm and boosts your metabolic rate. It gets you in a state where the body begins to burn fat cells naturally. Strength training (training with weights) doesn’t achieve that. Do at least 20 minutes a day of cardio (running, jogging, brisk walking, dancing, cycling etc.) for as many times a week as you can. Ab exercises will strengthen your muscles, but if these are buried under layers of fat, they won’t show.
6. Lowering the sodium intake
Salt can be the culprit. It can accumulate in your body and make too much water stick around. To eliminate fat and get ripped, bodybuilders take diuretics to get rid of the excess water and reveal muscular fiber. While this practice can be dangerous, the idea is valid: too much water makes one look puffed. Usually, a weight problem is caused by water retention, which is caused by too much salt in the diet.
7. Eat soluble fiber
Fiber is good and soluble fiber is even better. It absorbs a lot of water and makes the food stay longer in the digestive tract, which results in delayed hunger. When you have enough of it in your diet, you get to absorb fewer calories from food and have less bodyfat. Choose to eat legumes, oats, avocado, blackberries and flaxseed.
8. Repair your gut with probiotics
So many digestion issues can be fixed with a proper intake of probiotics (beneficial gut bacteria). When your gut is healed by fixing its flora, it no longer leaks and it properly absorbs what you need from food – no more fattening effect. The most important strains of probiotics for people with a weight issue are: Lactobacillus gasseri, Lactobacillus fermentum, Lactobacillus amylovorus.
9. Slim with protein supplements
When you can’t refrain from snacking, at least have the better options. If you replace carbs with protein, you feed your muscles and stop accumulating fat. Besides, you prompt your body to work harder. The easiest way is to purchase protein powder and make a tasty shake between meals.
10. Have monosaturated fatty acids
Slimming down doesn’t mean eliminating all fat from your diet. Monosaturated fatty acids are very healthy. You’ll find these in abundance in the Mediterranean diet. Start eating more avocado, nuts and seeds.
11. Have short workout sessions
To melt abdominal fat, you don’t need to sweat for hours on and at the gym. It’s enough to get your pulse up for 30 minutes, but do this as frequently as you can. Cardio sessions shouldn’t be long anyway. Half an hour of vigorous exercise daily is going to help you melt that fat.
12. Know how to balance your liquid\solid meals
Both solid and liquid meals can have loads of calories. Learn how to differentiate these. A legume soup without oil or cream can be very light. The creamy kind, made with beans and other dense foods will weigh so much more in terms of calories. Sometimes, liquid meals (yogurt for example) can pack loads of nutrients and you need to be aware of those. It’s not just water.
13. Drink water before meals
This is a simple trick against overeating. You may have heard before that the good practice is to avoid drinking water before a meal. If you want to lose weight, forget about that and do drink it. It will make you feel full and eat less.
14. Lower your cortisol
Cortisol is a hormone secreted during times of stress. It is particularly linked to fat accumulation around the belly area. In addition, it increases the appetite (makes you eat more so you can have nutrients for more stressful times to come). If you’re getting fat because of stress, then this your body’s usual response to cortisol. Take all the needed measures to become more calm. Plant-based supplements can help you fight the daily turmoil.
15. Sleep longer
It’s common for overweight people to shorten they sleep, as they need to have more time to do everything they have to in order to get in shape. This might be sabotaging one’s slimming efforts, however. By sleeping less, you may not get more accomplished. It is in fact a factor of stress for the body. Getting adequate rest is essential to weight management. Focus on having a good night’s sleep. Don’t nap during the day and never after a meal! It will make you store calories as fat.
16. Befriend the coconut oil
Oil may sound like a no-no when you want to lose belly fat, but coconut oil is so healthy. Not only that it nourishes your body with good fat, but it also fights inflammation and many other issues that lead to adipose tissue formation. It can get you rid of many health issues you were silently suffering from. Plus, it’s tasty, feels very light and can be added to loads of meals, even to smoothies and shakes.
17. Use stimulants
Beverages like coffee, green and black tea make you alert and get you to do more. Besides the mental stimulation, you get more energy and stamina to work out or to simply go out and move about. Coffee will increase your metabolic rate with up to 11%.
Everyone involved in fitness needs stimulants. But if coffee makes you crave a sweet snack later, then skip it and replace it with tea. Make sure it’s unsweetened if you want to reach your goals. If green tea feels too mild for you, try green tea extract supplements – these will increase the number of calories you burn with up to 13%. The targeted area is precisely the abdomen.
18. Control your drinking habits
Alcohol can give you loads of extra calories without even realizing it. If you have a glass of wine with your lunch, a beer later and a seemingly innocent cocktail later at night with friends, the count has already gone too high.
Alcohol in itself is high-calorie and when it’s combined with other drinks, such as in cocktails, can get you to pack more pounds. If you have a drinking habit, stick to one light beverage only. Wine would be the best choice for a sleek-looking stomach, considering it lacks fattening agents but is rich in beneficial minerals.
19. Go on a personalized diet
Picking a random diet can be bad for you. The core issue of packing stubborn fat around your midsection is usually a hormonal imbalance. Find out what is your hormonal makeover and adopt a diet that suits it. In other words, eat in a way that’s primarily focused on fixing your hormones instead of losing weight. The weight loss benefit will follow.
20. Focus on tummy shrinking foods
There are many smart dietary choices to make when your waist is too thick. The basic foods to focus on are: whole grains, tofu, avocado, lemons and berries, low fat yogurt. Also, add foods rich in protein, especially those from non-animal sources. Mushrooms, lentils and legumes are also excellent. Choose simple, non-processed foods; the processed kind has too many additives.
By following these suggestions, you can enjoy a long-term reduction of your waist circumference. These are all small things you can do for yourself, which can become habits in the long run. After all, it is easier to change your lifestyle by altering small bits and make it pleasant, than opting for drastic measures to get you to lose weight.