Evidence-Backed Tips To Flatten Your Belly And Maintain Your Hard-Won Results
There are three components that can help you flatten your belly, namely proper nutrition, exercise, and healthy habits. You may use only one of them, but the combination of all three will make the slimming process easier, faster and more effective.
Nutrition tips to flatten your belly
It is not a secret that to burn the unwanted fat, you should follow a certain nutrition plan or a diet. Numerous diets suggest a great variety of food restrictions and recommendations. However, if you want to melt some belly fat, here are some tips and tweaks, which could help:
What to eat?
1. Protein-rich foods
Scientists have proved that people with higher protein intake have less abdominal fat than those who consume smaller amounts of this nutrient (9).
Protein-rich products include eggs, Greek yogurt, broccoli, brussels sprouts, peanuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, etc.
2. Coffee and Tea (without sugar)
Coffee and tea (especially green) with no sugar belong to the healthiest drinks nowadays.
Consumption of coffee or tea (including green, black and oolong tea) has proven to increase the number of burnt calories and reduce stomach fat (6).
Probiotics are yeasts and live bacteria that have a positive effect on your digestive system and body in general (12).
Probiotic foods include yogurt, kefir, pickles, kimchi, miso, kombucha, and others.
4. Healthy fats
Use moderate amounts of healthy fats, such as vegetable oils, olive oil, coconut oil, nut butter and those that you can find in fish, seeds, and avocados (11).
5. Use vinegar as your salad dressing
Research by Japanese scientists has proven that constant consumption of small amounts of vinegar reduces body fat mass (10).
6. Soluble fiber
Consumption of soluble fiber prevents the accumulation of fat around your organs and even decreases fat gain in the abdominal area.
Foods rich in soluble fibers are brussels sprouts, blackberries, avocados, flaxseeds, and oats (10).
7. Fruits and vegetables
Last but not least, if you want to flatten your belly, eat a lot of plant-based foods – at least 4 portions of vegetables and 3 portions of fruits a day.
What foods to avoid?
1. Limit consumption of Carbs
Limited carbs consumption has great health benefits and is especially effective for weight loss. You can replace refined carbs with unprocessed, whole-food carbs. This way, you will not only feel better, but it will also help you get rid of the abdominal fat.
Limit your consumption of added sugar. Instead of drinking soda, try coffee, tea, beverages with artificial sweeteners or water (2). A good substitution for sugar-rich desserts is fruits, berries, and nuts.
Alcohol is quite rich in calories, so it is better to reduce the consumption of alcohol or stop drinking it at all.
4. Limit dairy products, meat, and poultry
Limit saturated fat which can be found in meat and high-fat dairy products, such as cheese and butter. It is better to stick to low-fat dairy products and lean meat and poultry in limited amounts (10), (2).
What exercises help flatten your belly?
1. Cardiovascular exercise
Cardiovascular (cardio) or in other words aerobic exercise, is one of the best ways to lose weight, get in shape and melt the belly fat. Such exercises are highly effective at tightening and strengthening your abdominal muscles. Running, brisk walking, biking and rowing belong to aerobic exercises.
2. Resistance Exercises
Resistance exercises are exercises that make your body muscles contract as a result of external resistance. This resistance can be anything, including your body weight. Resistance exercises can help you successfully tighten your abdominal muscles and form your perfect flat belly. A combination of resistance exercises and aerobic exercises can visibly reduce your waist size.
The best resistance exercises that can help flatten your belly are those that target your abdominal muscles. They include planks, sit-ups, and bicycles, and work best when you alternate them every day.
3. Hula hooping
Hula hooping is particularly effective if you want to get rid of belly fat. It is not only efficient but also very fun. Results of hula hooping are similar to those of aerobic activities, such as dancing. 30 minutes of hula hooping helps women to burn approximately 165 Cal, and men – 200 Cal. (5).
Yoga is very popular and well-known nowadays, it is good for stretching, tightening your muscles and weight loss. It helps you stay fit, healthy and clear-minded. Even though scientists have confirmed that yoga is not as good at burning calories as aerobic exercises, it contributes to the slimming process. Combined with regular aerobic exercises and a healthy diet it can bring you a very good result, whether you want to just flatten your belly or maintain a healthy body (4).
Simple tips and healthy habits that will make the slimming process easier
1. Healthy sleep
Weight loss depends not only on your activity during the day but on your sleep at night as well. Deprivation of sleep can cause weight gain. When a person doesn’t get enough sleep, their appetite and hunger increase (3). Adult human body functions best after 7-9 hours of sleep.
2. Use Smaller Plates
Smaller plates make your portion look bigger, whereas large plates make it look smaller. Eating from a smaller dinnerware may trick your brain into thinking that you are eating a bigger amount of food. Likewise, eating from a bigger plate, you are more prone to overeating.
3. Avoid Stressful Situations
Stress is overall harmful to human bodies. It can cause a lot of different diseases and accelerate weight gain. When a person feels stressed their body produces a stress hormone called cortisol, which in turn increases appetite. That is why a lot of people who are in constant stress are prone to binge eating. Therefore, if you want to flatten your belly, it is better to avoid stressful situations. If it is impossible, try to reduce the amount of stress by stress-relieving activities, such as meditation or yoga.
4. Add some physical activity to your daily routine
Try to fill those parts of the day when you are being “purposelessly static” with physical activity. It can be walking, fidgeting, moving around or even simply standing instead of sitting or lying (8). If you live close to your workplace or school, or even a shop, take a walk instead of driving there in a car or by bus. If you usually use elevators, start taking the stairs. It may seem not important, but such small things may bring you closer to your goal (2).
5. Try drinking more water
Drinking water is very helpful when a person wants to lose weight. Drinking a glass of water before every meal is a big step towards your goal. Water not only temporarily increases your metabolic rate but also makes you feel fuller, therefore, you end up eating less food. Another positive effect of water is that it increases your total energy expenditure by nearly 100 calories daily.
In conclusion, to reach your goal and flatten your belly, you should combine a healthy nutrition plan, sets of various exercises and healthy habits. However, before going on a diet or following a certain nutrition or exercise plan, please check with a professional nutritionist.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Adolescent Fiber Consumption Is Associated with Visceral Fat and Inflammatory Markers (2012, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Belly fat in women: Taking — and keeping — it off (2019, mayoclinic.org)
- Brief communication: Sleep curtailment in healthy young men is associated with decreased leptin levels, elevated ghrelin levels, and increased hunger and appetite. (2004, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Can yoga help me lose weight? (2019, mayoclinic.org)
- Do weighted hula hoops provide a good workout, or are they just a gimmick? (2017, mayoclinic.org)
- Green tea, black tea, and oolong tea polyphenols reduce visceral fat and inflammation in mice fed high-fat, high-sucrose obesogenic diets. (2014, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- How high-protein diets cause weight loss (2016, sciencedaily.com)
- How to stay fit when the gym is closed and you are stuck at home (2020, bedition.cnn.com)
- Quality protein intake is inversely related with abdominal fat. (2012, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Vinegar intake reduces body weight, body fat mass, and serum triglyceride levels in obese Japanese subjects (2009, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Weight loss: 6 strategies for success (2019, mayoclinic.org)
- What Are Probiotics? (2019, webmd.com)